IN THE SPOTLIGHT
People Behind the Scenes
Who keeps our university in top shape? It's the People Behind the Scenes! Meet Janet Garcia, Becky Sibley, and Maria Zellar, international student/scholar advisors in the Office of International Education.
What is one thing you would like people to know about the work you do?
Janet Garcia: We work with more than 1,600 international students and scholars from more than 80 countries. Their contributions are vital to the campus as they bring different perspectives, share their cultures, and build bridges of understanding and friendship. It's a pleasure helping them settle in and guiding them through the complex maze of immigration regulations governing their stays in the United States.
Becky Sibley: Most of the staff here at OIE are part of a network of over 9,000 professionals from all over the United States and 78 countries who work on university and college campuses as international student advisers and admissions officers, study abroad advisers, directors of international programs, teachers of English as a second language, administrators of intensive English programs, overseas educational advisers, community volunteers, and administrators of sponsored exchange programs. We serve as advocates for international educational exchange. Most of us believe that international educational exchange is one of the most important and effective forms of diplomacy.
Maria Zellar: International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) works with the CU and Boulder communities to enhance the experience of international scholars and students at CU. Various programming projects exist to provide support to CU's international community. For example, ISSS supports conversation groups, a coffee hour, an international festival, peer mentor groups, and BFIS (Boulder Friends of International Students), and other outreach projects in an effort to promote a positive international environment at CU. Also, we provide support to international students and scholars in our advising efforts. Both federal and state laws have become increasingly strict and cumbersome. As a result, the visit of an international student or scholar can be frustrating and less than inviting. We try at ISSS to provide sound advice to CU's international visitors while at the same time making them feel welcome.
What do you like best about being a part of the CU community?
Janet: The CU community is vibrant and stimulating. People of many different backgrounds converge here and most share a common interest in learning. Opportunities to serve on committees such as the Chancellor's Committee on Women gives us a chance to make a positive impact on the campus as we get to know other committee members. I appreciate the opportunities I've had to do this type of work.
Becky: I love meeting new students and scholars from all over the world, learning about their world view and helping them to adjust to the often very "foreign" American way of life.
Maria: I enjoy being around people who are enthusiastic, positive, and believe the work they do matters. The people who work in ISSS and in Study Abroad truly believe they can make a positive difference in the world. This attitude exists throughout CU, not just at the Office of International Education, and it inspires me to try to give my best to my job and to the people I work for.
What is your favorite activity/interest outside of work?
Janet: My main interests are spending time with family and friends, traveling, dancing, and reading fiction set in different places and times.
Becky: It is hard to pick just one; I am involved with my family and network of friends, I enjoy traveling, languages, reading and gardening when I can.
Maria: A couple of months ago I would have said spending time with my mom and good friends, enjoying good food and good music, and watching Jeopardy! But now I'd have to say my biggest interest outside of work is Wyeth, my Jack Russell puppy.
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