International Studies & Programs

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OISS Advising Team

Schedule an Appointment

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


F-1 Advising

Students on F-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

Jenny DuChene

Email: duchene4(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Jenny through Calendly.

Jenny DuChene is a Senior International Student and Scholar Advisor at OISS, primarily serving the F-1 student population. Jenny attended Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where she received her bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and master’s degree in Educational Leadership: Higher Education Student Affairs. Jenny also worked at EMU as a Senior International Student Advisor and Immigration Technology Specialist for eight years before starting at MSU in September 2023. Jenny's favorite part about being an international student advisor is meeting students from all over the world and assisting them in accomplishing their personal, academic, and professional goals. Jenny has lived abroad and enjoys camping, hiking, listening to music, and spending time with her family.

 

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.jpgCindy Walter

Email: walterc2(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Cindy through Calendly.

Cindy is an international student and scholar advisor at OISS with a particular focus on J-1 students and scholars. She also provides support to F-1 students. Cindy has worked at MSU since 2004 as an undergraduate academic advisor until she joined OISS in early 2022.

Cindy attended Western Michigan University and earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Communications. She also earned a master’s degree at MSU in student affairs. Cindy studied abroad for a semester in Spain and has traveled to Europe, Asia, and Mexico. Active with the International Friendship Program (IFP) for several years, Cindy and her family have hosted international students from many different countries. 

Cindy enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and is an avid fiction reader. She is a native of Michigan and loves to share travel advice for exploring this beautiful state.

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

Tahmina Maralbai

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

Tahmina Maralbai is an International Student and Scholar Advisor who works with J-1 Scholars, as well as F-1 and J-1 students. She has over 7 years of experience working as an OISS advisor at MSU. 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.

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

Christian Yañez 

Email: yanezchr(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment with Christian through Calendly.

Christian is an International Student and Scholar Advisor in OISS, primarily serving the F-1 student population. A native of California, he completed a double Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Chicano and Latin American Studies from California State University, Fresno. Christian also earned a Master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University. He served as Director of Hispanic/Latino Student Affairs at Northwestern University before continuing his career internationally. Most recently, he worked as a university advisor, advising students at private international schools in Queretaro, Mexico; Dubai, UAE; and Singapore.

Christian is an avid sports fan and enjoys both watching and playing various sports. He finds excitement in traveling with his wife, experiencing, and learning about diverse cultures, but his biggest joy is being a father to their son.

Christian appreciates the perspective and experiences international students bring to the U.S. and looks forward to connecting with current and future Global Spartans, as they pursue their own academic, personal, and professional goals.

August

Leydi 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.  

September

Ismail Adawe

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

Ismail Adawe is an Assistant Director at OISS. He has been in the field of International Education for more than a decade. Ismail earned his undergraduate degree in International Business and Management. He earned a Master of Science in International Administration from Central Michigan University. Ismail’s responsibilities at OISS include overseeing the F-visa program, interpreting regulations, university compliance with U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations.

Ismail lived and studied in several African and Middle Eastern countries. He worked in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is passionate about supporting and advocating for international students and the internalization of MSU. Ismail enjoys learning about the world not only by traveling but by getting to know the unique and wonderful international students here at Michigan State University.

October

Leyla FieldLeyla Field

Email: fieldley(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Leyla through Calendly.

Leyla is an International Student/Scholar Intake Advisor at OISS.   Leyla was born and raised in Sub-Saharan Africa, came to the US on a J-1 visa and was an F-1 student for her higher education in Michigan.  She has a B.A. in Business Administration, majoring in Finance, and a M.S. in International Business from Walsh College.   

Dedicated to a life-long learning philosophy, Leyla has over a decade of professional experience in various areas of US higher education with a passion for international education.   Her own international experiences remind her of the challenges that MSU international students and scholars may face.  Knowing the importance of having a welcoming resource to seek guidance from, Leyla looks forward to guiding our Spartan students and scholars understand the immigration rules to be successful in their F-and J-journey. 

Leyla enjoys travelling to places with warm climates and loves Michigan’s warmer weather.  She encourages others to experience the joys that Michigan culture, climate and friends have to offer.  Leyla also enjoys the challenge of playing board-games and food - talking about food, trying new foods, cooking food, with eating food being her favorite! 

 

 

November

ISP Photo 2.jpg

Alaina Short

Email: shortal4@msu.edu
Make an appointment with Alaina through Calendly.

Alaina is an international student advisor working primarily with F-1 students. She graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and has been working at MSU since September of 2023. She grew up near Toronto and in Flushing, Michigan, and she was able to spend the last two summers in Asia. She hopes to continue exploring the world! 

Alaina loves to try new foods, watch musicals, readpractice Japanese and French, and spend time with her friends and family. Knowing first-hand the joys and challenges of being abroad, she hopes to make international Spartans feel extra welcomed and supported. Alaina looks forward to meeting with you and helping you have the best possible experience at MSU! 

 

 

 

 

December

Amy Franklin-Craft

Email: frankl96(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Amy through Calendly
 

Amy Franklin-Craft is an International Student and Scholar Advisor who works with J-1 Scholars, as well as F-1 and J-1 students.  

Amy is originally from Pennsylvania but has lived in several states over the course of her life. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration, and a M.S. in Counseling in Higher Education, both from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she earned a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education from Michigan State. She has worked at Michigan state for more than 12 years though joined OISS in the fall of 2023. She thoroughly enjoys working with Spartans of all kinds, both students and scholars!  

Outside of work, Amy enjoys exercise, her two dogs Madaline and Winifred, and spending time with her family, including her two newest loves, her grandchildren, Juniper and Violet. Amy also enjoys travel and has extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe.  

  

 

 

 

J-1 Advising

Leydi Egan 

Email: leydi(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Leydi through Calendly
Zoom Drop-In Link: Mondays 1:30-2:30pm, Wednesdays 4-5pm

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.  


Cindy

Cindy Walter

Email: walterc2(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Cindy through Calendly
Zoom Drop-In Link: Mondays 3-4pm, Thursdays 9-10am  

Cindy is an international student and scholar advisor at OISS with a particular focus on J-1 students and scholars. She also provides support to F-1 students. Cindy has worked at MSU since 2004 as an undergraduate academic advisor until she joined OISS in early 2022.

Cindy attended Western Michigan University and earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Communications. She also earned a master’s degree at MSU in student affairs. Cindy studied abroad for a semester in Spain and has traveled to Europe, Asia, and Mexico. Active with the International Friendship Program (IFP) for several years, Cindy and her family have hosted international students from many different countries. 

Cindy enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and is an avid fiction reader. She is a native of Michigan and loves to share travel advice for exploring this beautiful state.


Amy

Amy Franklin-Craft

Email: frankl96(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Amy through Calendly
Zoom Drop-In Link: Wednesdays 3-4pm, Fridays 9-10am  

Amy Franklin-Craft is an International Student and Scholar Advisor who works with J-1 Scholars, as well as F-1 and J-1 students.  

Amy is originally from Pennsylvania but has lived in several states over the course of her life. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration, and a M.S. in Counseling in Higher Education, both from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she earned a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education from Michigan State. She has worked at Michigan state for more than 12 years though joined OISS in the fall of 2023. She thoroughly enjoys working with Spartans of all kinds, both students and scholars!  

Outside of work, Amy enjoys exercise, her two dogs Madaline and Winifred, and spending time with her family, including her two newest loves, her grandchildren, Juniper and Violet. Amy also enjoys travel and has extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe.  


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

WhatsApp Image 2021-09-17 at 12.50.15 PM.jpeg

Dagmar (Dasha) Zdrubecka

Email: ihealth(at)msu.edu 
Make an appointment through Calendly.

My name is Dagmar (I also go by Dasha) and I am currently a graduate student in the School of Social Work. I completed my undergraduate studies at MSU with a Criminal Justice major and a Human Behavior & Social Services minor. I am originally from Prague, Czech Republic and have been living in the United States as a student for over 7 years. I am fluent in Czech and English and have basic Spanish language skills.

Due to my long experience as an international student, I empathize with the daily struggles we can face. My main focus is providing assistance and resources to those faced with challenges while pursuing their goals at Michigan State. I am extremely excited to meet new people through the Advocacy and Outreach team and provide my help!

Dasha's Wellness Tip: Whenever I tend to get overwhelmed with schoolwork or just life in general I like to journal! It is a great way to escape reality and express thoughts. When journaling, I like that you can choose between a plain booklet or a pre-written journal for easier navigation of thoughts! 

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. For general questions, please contact oisshelp(at)msu.edu


Scheduling an Appointment with the OISS Advocacy Team

In scheduling an appointment, you will have the opportunity to meet with a member of the Advocacy and Outreach team to address 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 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.


Meet the OISS Advocacy & Outreach Team! 

WhatsApp Image 2021-09-17 at 12.50.15 PM.jpeg

Dagmar (Dasha) Zdrubecka

Email: oisshelp(at)msu.edu

Make an appointment with Dasha through Calendly. 

My name is Dagmar (I also go by Dasha) and I am currently a graduate student in the School of Social Work. I completed my undergraduate studies at MSU with a Criminal Justice major and a Human Behavior & Social Services minor. I am originally from Prague, Czech Republic and have been living in the United States as a student for over 7 years. I am fluent in Czech and English and have basic Spanish language skills.

Due to my long experience as an international student, I empathize with the daily struggles we can face. My main focus is providing assistance and resources to those faced with challenges while pursuing their goals at Michigan State. I am extremely excited to meet new people through the Advocacy and Outreach team and provide my help!

Dasha's Wellness Tip: Whenever I tend to get overwhelmed with schoolwork or just life in general I like to journal! It is a great way to escape reality and express thoughts. When journaling, I like that you can choose between a plain booklet or a pre-written journal for easier navigation of thoughts! 

 

MARALBAEVA_Tahmina-2  (2)[44].pngTahmina Maralbai

Email: tahmina(at)msu.edu
Make an appointment with Tahmina through Calendly
Zoom Drop-In Link: Tuesdays 2-3pm, Thursdays 9-10am 

Tahmina Maralbai is a Senior International Student & Scholar Advocate. Tahmina has over 8 years of experience working as an OISS advisor at MSU. Originally, Tahmina is from Kyrgyzstan and was an international student herself while obtaining her master’s degree in Public Administration at Grand Valley State University. She lives in East Lansing with her husband and two children. 

Tahmina’s Wellness Tip: Movement, good nutrition and having someone to talk to (can be a friend OR a family member OR a therapist/counselor). Most importantly, finding time to relax and doing something you enjoy – whether it is to engage in your favorite hobby, spend time with friends, read a book or just have a bowl of ice-cream while watching Netflix. 


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.

Shams Vahedi is an immigration specialist working closely with faculty and staff on H-1B and J-1 visas. Shams is originally from Iran and came to the US as an international student to attend MSU College of Law. After graduating from MSU College of Law, he joined MSU OISS as a full-time international student and scholar advisor providing advice on US immigration matters. Given his personal experience as an international student and his educational background in legal studies, he has a uniquely intimate knowledge of the U.S. Immigration process for international staff and faculty. He provides advising sessions in English and in Farsi.