PUC attends NAFSA conference

nafsaSix PUC staff members attended the 62nd annual NAFSA Association of International Educators Annual Convention held at the beginning of June in Kansas City, Missouri. NAFSA is the leading professional association promoting the exchange of students and scholars to and from the United States. The annual conference theme was “Changing the Landscape of Global Higher Education” and more than 7200 participants from approximately 100 countries attended for an array of workshops, exhibitions, and networking opportunities.

To demonstrate the range of professional development opportunities that NAFSA provides some of our attending staff members describe some highlights from the conference:

“Having lived abroad for the past four years, this was the first NAFSA conference I have gone to in a while. I attended some wonderful workshops and sessions on providing services and programs for international student and also on Study Abroad programs. As we work and enhance the services and programs we offer all students and to increase participation of PUC students in study abroad, the knowledge I gained from the conference will certainly be very helpful!”

– Brian Domenget, International Programs Coordinator

“The English Language Program (ELP) was recently accepted and accredited by the University Consortium of English Language Programs (UCIEP) and American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP). Our acceptance into UCIEP and AAIEP were recognized during the annual meetings of these associations, which were held during the NAFSA conference. Another highlight for me was a session entitled: “Free Campus Internationalization: Classroom Exchanges Between University and ESL Students.” This session helped me think through some possible ways that I can continue to help our ELP students connect with more domestic students and professors on campus. Furthermore, attending this session made me realize the importance of adding a service learning elective to our list of elective courses, hence introducing our ELP students to experiential learning, which is now a required component of their education and success at Purdue University Calumet.”

– Mohammed Errihani, Ph.D., Director of English Language Program & Assistant Professor of English

“This was my first NAFSA and I was impressed by the range of topics covered at the conference. I went to learn more about international students as we have a large international population in the University Village Apartments. I found a number of sessions that focused on the culturally sensitive advising of international students, potential areas of collaboration between Housing and International Student Services offices, and information on students from specific countries or regions of the world. It was a really good experience.”

– James “J.D.” Ford, Assistant Director for Residential Education, Housing and Residential Education

“I went to Kansas City for only a couple of days to attend a day-long workshop on H-1B visas. It was a good refresher course for my work with PUC’s temporary employee population. Even though I was there such a short time, I reconnected with good friends that I have met through NAFSA and international education. This is always one of the highlights for me and I continue to be amazed when I see how professional and personal friendships are sustained across the United States –and the world- for years and years. Working in international education has shown me the value of sharing information and enjoying people from all over the globe. This conference always strengthens my excitement for working with international students here at PUC!”

– Marsha Gordon, Director of Immigration Services

“I serve on NAFSA’s Leadership Development Committee, so I had several meetings during the week to perform the functions of my role. I really enjoy serving on this diverse committee of international educators who come from a variety of countries and backgrounds. Also, at each conference I try to attend one session that speaks to my interest in current events around the world (in addition to the sessions which are specifically about my daily work). This year I attended a fascinating presentation by Nathanial Kwabo (Executive Secretary of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and founder of Liberia Democracy Watch) about human rights and the peaceful resolution of conflict. It was both heartbreaking and inspirational to learn about the progress of peace in this formerly war-torn African nation.”

– Judith Pennywell, Ed.D., Executive Director of International Programs

“The landscape for advising international students on F-1 visas and the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is ever-changing. The highlight of the conference for me was being able to attend sessions that featured governmental officials, speaking about changes to SEVIS, visa processing, and other critical issues. Additionally, I was quite pleased that many of the presenters of the non-immigration sessions, such as “The U.S. Army Approach to [International] Exchanges,” discussed interrelated themes of global education.”

– April Valentine, Immigration Advisor