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A Global Suite: Two Whitman Teams Merge to Better Support Students

Study aboad and international student services come together as Whitman grows more global

By Susan Holme, Senior Director of Off-Campus Studies & International Student and Scholar Services

Five staff members sit around a table in an office setting. From left to right: Greg Lecki, Laura L. Cummings, Susan Holme, Nadir Ovcina, Ozzie Rodriguez.

In celebration of International Education Week (Nov. 13–17), we are excited to share the news that International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and Off-Campus Studies (OCS) recently joined together into one “global suite” located in Memorial Hall Room 205.

Global Growth at Whitman College

With the return of study abroad/off-campus studies participation rates to pre-pandemic levels and a record number of international students on campus, we combined staff expertise and resources in these two internationally facing areas to enhance support to our students.

This year, 130 students have applied to study in 29 countries in Spring of 2024—a Whitman College record.

The Class of 2027 also has the largest ever number of international first-year students, including 35 Davis United World Scholars. With 216 students from 80 countries enrolled at Whitman, international students currently make up 13% of the student body!

We hope the cross-pollination of ideas in the OCS-ISSS joint office will produce innovations and allow for staff cross-training to better support students and staff and faculty colleagues, with the ultimate goal to improve global understanding on our campus community and beyond.

Off-Campus Studies & International Student and Scholar Services

Key responsibilities include:

  • Support students who wish to study abroad during the academic year or in the summer.
  • Support students who wish to participate in our four US-based off-campus partner programs.
  • Support administration of and participation in Whitman faculty-led off-campus academic programs (Semester in the West, Whitman Summer Studies in China/Taiwan, etc.).
  • Support international students in terms of orientation to campus, immigration and visas, tax requirements and directing them to various resources on and off campus.
  • Support the rapidly growing number of international students engaged in off-campus internships before and after graduation.
  • Expand the Friendship Family program for international students to connect with families in the Walla Walla valley.
  • Provide cultural programming for international students through “Discover the U.S.A.” activities in the Pacific Northwest.

Meet the OCS-ISSS team (pictured above, from left to right):

  • Greg Lecki, Director of International Student and Scholar Services
  • Laura L. Cummings, Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Services & Faculty-Led Off-Campus Studies
  • Susan Holme, Senior Director of Off-Campus Studies & International Student and Scholar Services
  • Nadir Ovcina ’17, Assistant Director of Off-Campus Studies
  • Oswaldo “Ozzie” Rodriguez ’23, Coordinator of Off-Campus Studies & International Student and Scholar Services

Seven OCS student interns:

  • Grant Didway ’24 (Computer Science), IES Granada, Spain
  • Mia Graham ’24 (Anthropology), IFSA University of Ireland Galway
  • Pearl Kim ’24 (Art & Japanese), Associated Kyoto Program, Japan
  • Diana Narvaez Vazquez ’24 (Politics), IES Rome, Italy
  • Brandon Serrano Martinez ’24 (Politics & Psychology), IFSA Buenos Aires Psychology and Neuroscience, Argentina
  • Lhamo Sherpa Bhote ’24 (Psychology), DIS Copenhagen, Denmark

Nine international student mentors support first-year international students:

  • Sonya Kozlitina ’25 (Psychology), Russia
  • Alice Chen ’26 (Undeclared), China
  • Qichen Cai ’24 (Film and Media Studies), China
  • Minh Thu Tran ’26 (Undeclared), Vietnam
  • Mehrimo Bakhtalieva ’25 (Geology-Physics), Tajikistan
  • Chiara Bachmann Gomez ’25 (Biology-Environmental Studies), Bolivia
  • Lucas Zheng ’24 (Mathematics/Pre-Engineering), China
  • Wayne Mckay ’26 (Undeclared), Namibia
  • Chikumbuso Namuchile ’26 (Undeclared), Zambia
Published on Nov 14, 2023
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