The first honoree this year for Bringing out the Best in their colleagues is not one notable person but twelve. They are the staff of the International Students Office (ISO for short), and they are a team of individuals who are always there for our students in these uncertain times. As nominator David Elwell, the director and associate dean for the ISO wrote, “The past two years have been extremely challenging for the international student community. New federal government regulations and agency practices have been released abruptly and unexpectedly. The ISO staff has had to continually decipher these changes and communicate them in real time—striving always to stay a step ahead while providing a calming presence”.
Each member of the ISO staff has developed ways to make sure students and departments are fully informed—and they have made themselves available to talk with any member of our community, here or abroad, who needs help, guidance, or understanding. They’ve also collaborated with other offices across MIT to provide support systems and information sessions. By taking care of so much of the red tape around visas and other issues facing international students, the ISO staff make it possible for students to focus on the work they came here to pursue.
Students, colleagues across campus, and even alumni have submitted letters praising the ISO team for their exceptional work. One colleague wrote: “A whole lot was changing at once in terms of federal rules and regulations, but the core qualities of the ISO staff have stayed constant. The personal connections they forge with students and the efforts they make on behalf of those students have reassured them that MIT is their home and will always be there for them. In the ISO, they know they have a place to turn in times of uncertainty.”
And here’s one of many endorsements from students: “When talking to other Europeans who traveled to the U.S., most of them were surprised that my visa application went so smoothly. I told them I was lucky to have the ISO staff. They answered all my questions, explained the different steps I had to take, and helped me to get my paperwork completed and submitted on time. I am very grateful for everything they do for us.”
And this from a former visiting student: “Countless were the times we needed help and they were there. We needed room for a meeting. They provided it. We needed personal and professional advice, and they invested time to help us any way they could. We were stressed, and they organized weekly events that guided us through tough days. …We will never forget what they did for us. The experience of every visiting student is improved by the ISO, and we will always be grateful.”
The members of the International Students Office Team are:.
- Maria Brennan
- Cedrick Boursiquot
- Antoinette Browne
- Aurora Brule`
- Emily A. Cheng
- Carlene Green-Paul
- Sylvia Hiestand
- Janka Moss
- Dana Riechman
- Jacqueline Souza
- Mayoka Takemori
- Megumi Wang