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OISS Advising Team

We currently have two advising options.  View additional information for:

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Select your interest below to find out more information about your advisor and how to make an appointment.


Students

Students on F-1 and J-1 visas are assigned to a specific OISS advisor. In order to evenly spread-out advising caseloads, we have assigned students to an advisor based on the student's birth month.

For example: If you were born in December, you will click the December tab below to see the advisor you will be working with. 

While students are assigned a specific advisor, if at any point a student wishes to meet with another staff member in OISS they are able to do so by contacting that staff member directly.

January

IMG_20170313_144509_Christine Bilfinger.jpgChristine Bilfinger

Email: bilfinge(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Christine through Calendly.

Christine Bilfinger is an International Student Advisor at OISS, serving primarily the F-1 student population. Christine is a native of New York state and completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees at SUNY Stony Brook University, where she also worked in admissions, study abroad, and as an international student advisor. Due to her background, she loves working with students in transition -- whether it be students who are new to MSU, exploring their major, or researching graduate school, she wants to help. Christine loves spending time outside. If you are looking for a great place to take a long walk, let her know!

February

IMG_20170313_144509_Christine Bilfinger.jpgChristine Bilfinger

Email: bilfinge(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Christine through Calendly.

Christine Bilfinger is an International Student Advisor at OISS, serving primarily the F-1 student population. Christine is a native of New York state and completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees at SUNY Stony Brook University, where she also worked in admissions, study abroad, and as an international student advisor. Due to her background, she loves working with students in transition -- whether it be students who are new to MSU, exploring their major, or researching graduate school, she wants to help. Christine loves spending time outside. If you are looking for a great place to take a long walk, let her know!

March

headshot_Bryce Carlton.jpgBryce Carlton

Email: carlto35(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Bryce through Calendly.

Bryce joined the OISS team in 2019 and enjoys his role as an advisor, serving both F-1 and J-1 students as well as J-1 scholars.. Bryce obtained his Masters degree from Grand Valley State University where he completed a graduate assistantship at the Writing Center, working with international students to perfect their writing craft. He feels fortunate to have the world at his fingertips each day at MSU as he meets students and scholars from all over the globe, a Spartan perk even greater than the Dairy Store.

April

headshot_Bryce Carlton.jpgBryce Carlton

Email: carlto35(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Bryce through Calendly.

Bryce joined the OISS team in 2019 and enjoys his role as an advisor, serving both F-1 and J-1 students as well as J-1 scholars.. Bryce obtained his Masters degree from Grand Valley State University where he completed a graduate assistantship at the Writing Center, working with international students to perfect their writing craft. He feels fortunate to have the world at his fingertips each day at MSU as he meets students and scholars from all over the globe, a Spartan perk even greater than the Dairy Store.

May

WIN_20210526_16_13_54_Pro (3).jpgTahmina Maralbaeva

Email: maralbae(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Tahmina through Calendly.

Tahmina Maralbaeva is an International Student Advisor who serves F-1 and J-1 students. She has over 5 years of experience working as on OISS advisor at MSU. During those years, Tahmina worked primarily with J-1 students and scholars but advised F-1 students as well. Also, she assisted the International Sponsored Student Program coordinator in serving sponsored students at MSU. After taking a break to have and care for two young children, she is excited to be back at OISS to work with international students. 

 Originally, Tahmina is from Kyrgyzstan and was on a student visa herself while obtaining her Master's degree in Public Administration at Grand Valley State University. She lives with her husband and two children in East Lansing. She likes reading books with her children and discovering new hobbies and interests. Her latest interest has been to master blini making skills (Russian crepes). Her longtime hobby is traveling, and recently their family traveled in the camper for four months and stayed in states like Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Arizona. It was a fun journey, during which she discovered that the best place to live and raise children is East Lansing, Michigan.

June

Jessie Keaton Profile PcitureJessie Keaton 

Email: keatonje(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Jessie through Calendly.

Jessie joined OISS in December 2019. She attended Western Michigan University where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Global and International Studies. Jessie discovered her passion for International Education while working in WMU's English as a Second Language department. Having grown up in the Lansing area, Jessie has always been a big MSU fan, and loves that she gets to continue supporting, and advocating for, the international student and scholar community here at MSU. Jessie loves coffee, painting and fishing on Lake Michigan in the summertime.

July

Facetune_27-06-2019-12-05-04 (1)_Leydi Egan.JPGLeydi Egan 

Email: leydi(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Leydi through Calendly.

Leydi Egan is an International Student & Scholar Advisor with OISS. She works directly with MSU departments and the submission of new J-1 Scholars and Student applications. She also provides immigration advice on how to maintain immigration status and compliance for F-1 & J-1 Students & Scholars.  

Leydi is from Merida, Mexico and has a B.A. in Human resources and M.A. in Higher Education from MSU. She has worked at OISS for three years but lived in Michigan for over 15 years. Her goal is to not only support new Spartans in navigating the immigration rules in the U.S., but to also make them feel welcome and heard.  

Outside of work, Leydi enjoys practicing yoga and running. Once the pandemic is over, she would like to travel more to other countries to get to know other customs and cultures. She has traveled to Scotland, London, Panama, as well as leading education abroad programs in Mexico and Spain.

August

Facetune_27-06-2019-12-05-04 (1)_Leydi Egan.JPGLeydi Egan 

Email: leydi(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Leydi through Calendly.

Leydi Egan is an International Student & Scholar Advisor with OISS. She works directly with MSU departments and the submission of new J-1 Scholars and Student applications. She also provides immigration advice on how to maintain immigration status and compliance for F-1 & J-1 Students & Scholars.  

Leydi is from Merida, Mexico and has a B.A. in Human resources and M.A. in Higher Education from MSU. She has worked at OISS for three years but lived in Michigan for over 15 years. Her goal is to not only support new Spartans in navigating the immigration rules in the U.S., but to also make them feel welcome and heard.  

Outside of work, Leydi enjoys practicing yoga and running. Once the pandemic is over, she would like to travel more to other countries to get to know other customs and cultures. She has traveled to Scotland, London, Panama, as well as leading education abroad programs in Mexico and Spain.

September

Brooke StokdykBrooke Stokdyk - Covering September while Boonsiree is on leave.

Email: stokdyk(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Brooke through Calendly.

Brooke Stokdyk is an Assistant Director in OISS. She has helped Global Spartans with their concerns related to J-1 visas, F-1 visas, and health insurance for more than 16 years. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Brooke earned a bachelor's degree in German and a master's degree in Higher Education at Indiana University - Bloomington, where she also played piccolo in the marching band. She is passionate about helping international students, scholars, and their families with anything and everything that is uniquely difficult about studying in the U.S. from another country. She lives in nearby Williamston with her husband and two kids. She enjoys playing the flute, walking with her dog, reading books set in other countries, and enjoying a fresh cup of hot black tea.




Boonsiree Nuveman.jpgBoonsiree Nuveman - Assigned Advisor, On Leave

My name is Boonsiree Nuveman. I am an International Student and Scholar Advisor for OISS. I am looking forward to meeting you, answering your questions, and providing you the support that you need during your F-1 program. 

A little bit about myself, I am also international just like you. I am originally from Bangkok, Thailand. 

My first experience in the U.S. was on a J-1 Work and Travel program in 2005 and 2006. That experience started of my interest in U.S. immigration regulations and my passion for international and cultural exchange. I returned to the U.S. in 2008 as an F-1 student to study towards a Master's degree at Central Michigan University. 

Prior to my position at MSU, I was an Immigration Assistant at the University of Michigan's International Center. I also worked for a J-1 Training and Internship Program for several years. As you can see, I have both personal and professional experiences involving immigration and international exchange. 

My goal is to work with MSU international students, scholars and their families, helping them with immigration, academic, and personal questions. My own international experiences taught me how important it is for newcomers to feel welcomed. I am looking forward to helping MSU's international population adjust to their new environment and connecting them with MSU and surrounding communities.

I'm looking forward to meeting you! If you have any questions and need advice, feel free to make an appointment with me.

October

Ismail AdaweIsmail Adawe - Covering October while Boonsiree is on leave.

Email: adawe(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Ismail through Calendly.

Hello! My name is Ismail Adawe. I am temporarily covering for advisor Boonsiree Nuveman for students who are born in the month of October. If you were born in a month other than October, check the OISS advising page to determine your OISS advisor based on your birth month (not the current month).

 








Boonsiree Nuveman.jpgBoonsiree Nuveman - Assigned Advisor, On Leave

My name is Boonsiree Nuveman. I am an International Student and Scholar Advisor for OISS. I am looking forward to meeting you, answering your questions, and providing you the support that you need during your F-1 program.

A little bit about myself, I am also international just like you. I am originally from Bangkok, Thailand.

My first experience in the U.S. was on a J-1 Work and Travel program in 2005 and 2006. That experience started of my interest in U.S. immigration regulations and my passion for international and cultural exchange. I returned to the U.S. in 2008 as an F-1 student to study towards a Master's degree at Central Michigan University.

Prior to my position at MSU, I was an Immigration Assistant at the University of Michigan's International Center. I also worked for a J-1 Training and Internship Program for several years. As you can see, I have both personal and professional experiences involving immigration and international exchange.

My goal is to work with MSU international students, scholars and their families, helping them with immigration, academic, and personal questions. My own international experiences taught me how important it is for newcomers to feel welcomed. I am looking forward to helping MSU's international population adjust to their new environment and connecting them with MSU and surrounding communities.

I'm looking forward to meeting you! If you have any questions and need advice, feel free to make an appointment with me.

November

Bristol Photo_Bristol Day.jpgBristol Day

Email: daybrist(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Bristol through Calendly.

Bristol is an international student advisor here in OISS who works primarily with F-1 international students. She is originally from Detroit and is the first in her family to have attended college. She attended Kalamazoo College for her bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology and then graduated from the College of Education here at Michigan State University for her master's in student affairs. She loves living here in Lansing/East Lansing and has lots of suggestions on fun things to do around town.  

December

Bristol Photo_Bristol Day.jpgBristol Day

Email: daybrist(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Bristol through Calendly.

Bristol is an international student advisor here in OISS who works primarily with F-1 international students. She is originally from Detroit and is the first in her family to have attended college. She attended Kalamazoo College for her bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology and then graduated from the College of Education here at Michigan State University for her master's in student affairs. She loves living here in Lansing/East Lansing and has lots of suggestions on fun things to do around town.  

Scholars

headshot_Bryce Carlton.jpgBryce Carlton

Email: carlto35(at)msu.edu  
Make an appointment with Bryce through Calendly.

Bryce joined the OISS team in 2019 and enjoys his role as an advisor, serving both F-1 and J-1 students as well as J-1 scholars.. Bryce obtained his Masters degree from Grand Valley State University where he completed a graduate assistantship at the Writing Center, working with international students to perfect their writing craft. He feels fortunate to have the world at his fingertips each day at MSU as he meets students and scholars from all over the globe, a Spartan perk even greater than the Dairy Store.


Facetune_27-06-2019-12-05-04 (1)_Leydi Egan.JPGLeydi Egan 

Email: leydi(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Leydi through Calendly.

Leydi Egan is an International Student & Scholar Advisor with OISS. She works directly with MSU departments and the submission of new J-1 Scholars and Student applications. She also provides immigration advice on how to maintain immigration status and compliance for F-1 & J-1 Students & Scholars.  

Leydi is from Merida, Mexico and has a B.A. in Human resources and M.A. in Higher Education from MSU. She has worked at OISS for three years but lived in Michigan for over 15 years. Her goal is to not only support new Spartans in navigating the immigration rules in the U.S., but to also make them feel welcome and heard.  

Outside of work, Leydi enjoys practicing yoga and running. Once the pandemic is over, she would like to travel more to other countries to get to know other customs and cultures. She has traveled to Scotland, London, Panama, as well as leading education abroad programs in Mexico and Spain.


WIN_20210526_16_13_54_Pro (3).jpgTahmina Maralbaeva

Email: maralbae(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Tahmina through Calendly.

Tahmina Maralbaeva is an International Student Advisor who serves F-1 and J-1 students. She has over 5 years of experience working as on OISS advisor at MSU. During those years, Tahmina worked primarily with J-1 students and scholars but advised F-1 students as well. Also, she assisted the International Sponsored Student Program coordinator in serving sponsored students at MSU. After taking a break to have and care for two young children, she is excited to be back at OISS to work with international students.

Originally, Tahmina is from Kyrgyzstan and was on a student visa herself while obtaining her Master's degree in Public Administration at Grand Valley State University. She lives with her husband and two children in East Lansing. She likes reading books with her children and discovering new hobbies and interests. Her latest interest has been to master blini making skills (Russian crepes). Her longtime hobby is traveling, and recently their family traveled in the camper for four months and stayed in states like Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Arizona. It was a fun journey, during which she discovered that the best place to live and raise children is East Lansing, Michigan.

U.S. Health Care and Insurance

The health care system in the United States is complex, and as a student or scholar at MSU, you are required to have health insurance. Learn how to use your health insurance so you can get the medical care you need.OISS provides general health insurance assistance with the following:  

  • Understanding your health insurance plan 
  • Finding out where to get medical treatment 
  • Understanding your medical bills 
  • Getting insurance for your spouse or child 

General questions related to U.S. Health Care and Insurance can be sent to ihealth(at)msu.edu.


Meet Our Community Health Intern

Erin Kramer Cropped.jpgErin Kramer

Email: ihealth(at)msu.edu

Erin Kramer is the Community Health Intern for OISS who is in her final year of her Bachelor of Social Work Program. Erin is excited to begin her Master of Social Work and Master of Global Health programs at Michigan State University in May 2021. Erin has spent time abroad in Belize and Iceland, she is able to communicate in Spanish.  Erin can assist with health insurance-related questions and is knowledgeable about health resources in the East Lansing area! Erin enjoys hearing different student perspectives and assisting in OISS' health program development.

Advocacy and Outreach Team

The OISS Student Advocacy and Outreach Team works to assist students who face challenges during their studies, whether related to academics, finances, health, or overall well-being. We are available to guide students as they seek resources either on or off-campus to meet their unique needs. Learn how you can get help and meet the team members, below!


Get Help from the Advocacy and Outreach Team

  • Email the Advocacy and Outreach team at oisshelp(at)msu.edu
  • Connect with us by making a Zoom appointment
  • Virtual Drop-In Hours: Advocacy and Outreach team offers daily virtual drop-in hours to answer questions and offer support to students. 

OISS Advocacy Virtual Drop-In Hours


OISS Virtual Drop-In Hours provides international students an opportunity to meet with a member of the Advocacy and Outreach team to address their concerns related to academics, finances, overall well-being, or adjustment to MSU. If you have questions about an immigration-related matter, please contact your OISS F-1 or J-1 advisor. During these hours, no appointment is needed to speak one-on-one with a member of the team.

During the meeting, we will discuss how you are doing and work to get you connected to appropriate resources on campus or in the community. If your concerns require follow-up, we will work together to schedule another time to connect.

To minimize wait times, sessions are typically limited to 15 minutes per person, and assistance is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Fall 2021 OISS Advocacy Virtual Drop-In Hours 

  • Monday-Friday, 2:00-3:00 PM EST

How to Use OISS Advocacy Virtual Drop-In Hours

  1. Go to OISS Advocacy Virtual Drop-In Hours on Zoom.
  2. Enter the Virtual Advocacy & Outreach Waiting Room.
  3. An Advocacy and Outreach team member will meet with students in the order in which they enter the Waiting Room.

Are the OISS Advocacy Virtual Drop-In Hours the right place for me? 

Not sure if your question or concerns are the right fit for the advocacy drop-in hours? Check out this example:

Wen, a sophomore at MSU, was feeling overwhelmed by his coursework and feeling homesick. He met with the OISS Advocacy and Outreach team during virtual drop-in hours, and they pointed him to academic resources within his college. They also created a specific plan for getting more involved on campus.


Meet the OISS Advocacy & Outreach Team! 

pic_Jessica Scott-Nehls.jpgJessica Scott-Nehls

Email: scottj46(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Jess through Calendly.


My name is Jess and I am the Student Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator. I have my Master’s in Social Work and Bachelor’s in Spanish and International Studies. Whether you are new to MSU or preparing to complete your degree, unexpected challenges can arise during your studies and we are here to help you navigate those and find resources to help. In your academic journey at MSU, we are a part of your support team, so please reach out with any questions, concerns you face, or if you just want to say hi. I speak English and Spanish and look forward to meeting you!

Jess’s Wellness Tip:

When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I like to take 15 minutes to get outside regardless of the weather. I purposefully leave my phone inside so I am not distracted and can focus on the current moment. Whether I’m just sitting or taking a short walk, taking this break outdoors helps me clear my head, disconnect from my stressors, and appreciate my environment.


Rachel_Ko 200px 280px.pngRachel Ko


It's great to meet you! My name is Rachel and I am one of the Advocacy and Outreach Interns. I am a Master's student in my first year of the Social Work program. College brings many surprises and challenges and having to balance it on your own can be even more stressful. I am happy to connect with you to explore different resources or just chat and get to know one another. I can speak English and Mandarin Chinese and I hope we can meet one another with coffee or tea at hand!

Rachel's Wellness Tip:

I use the free Yoga app to practice mindfulness in my breath and thoughts as well as to release tension in my body. I recommend investing in a spacious, durable exercise mat - really helps my yoga sessions.  I also light candles and drink dark coffee to start my day. This routine makes the space feel like my own.


Screen Shot 2021-09-21 at 8.35.25 AM.pngMatthew Van Horn

Email: oisshelps(at)msu.edu

Hi! My name is Matthew.  I am a senior in the undergraduate social work program and one of the outreach and advocacy team interns.  Managing school along with other aspects olife can be overwhelming, so I am always happy to connect with students either to discuss resources and problem solving or just to talk.  I am available both through email and on zoom so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me.  I look forward to meeting you!

Matthew's Wellness Tip:

Whenever I have a lot of things I need to do, I always try to break them into a list of smaller tasks that can be completed in an hour or less.  That way I can make progress on things without feeling overwhelmed.  It also gives me the chance to give myself smaller breaks in between different activities.


WhatsApp Image 2021-09-17 at 12.50.15 PM.jpegUswa Memon

Email: oisshelps(at)msu.edu

My name is Uswa, and I am a graduate student from Pakistan at MSU, studying Social Work.  I have previously worked in social work programs that focused on education and nutrition. Being an international student myself, I resonate with some of the daily challenges of adjusting to a new country. I am happy to assist during your time at MSU by providing you with resources catered to your specific needs, both on-campus and off-campus. I am fluent in Urdu and Hindi. I look forward to building more connections within the MSU community. Feel free to reach out to me via email or zoom."

Employees & H-1B

Tuyilingire.Neringa.4287.jpg

Neringa Tuyilingire 
Email: neringa(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Neringa through Calendly.

Neringa Tuyilingire is an International Student and Scholar Advisor with OISS. Neringa joined OISS team in 2009. She works directly with MSU departments and employees on H-1B/TN/E-3 visas. Neringa was born and raised in Lithuania and came to the U.S. in 1999 to pursue a college education. She obtained her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Michigan State University. Neringa has traveled to several European countries during her undergraduate studies, and studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium.  Her hobbies are traveling, yoga, and crocheting.


NewestPic_Shams Vahedi.jpgShams Vahedi
Email: vahedis1(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Shams through Calendly.

My name is Shams Vahedi. I am originally from Iran and came to the US as an international student attending MSU College of Law. Following my graduation from law school, I joined OISS as a full-time student advisor providing services on immigration matters to international students. Given my personal experience and my educational background in legal studies, I always try to understand the unique aspects of different issues surrounding international students' life in the US. I am currently working with H-1B visas for our faculty and staff at MSU. I can provide advising sessions in English and in Farsi.

 


Live Chat

For quick questions, chat online with an advisor Monday-Friday from 1-3pm Eastern Time.  To access the online chat system click here.

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