ISSO Newsletter: November 2013
The ISSO sends out a monthly web-based newsletter. It contains the latest information about immigration and ISSO services, as well as important reminders about work authorization, visa applications, and more. Please read it! View the ISSO newsletter archive here.
- Welcome and Introductions
- Immigration News and Reminders
- Upcoming ISSO Trips and Programs
- The ISSO's Electronic Lists: A Summary
- Volunteers Needed for Thanksgiving Feast
- Volunteers Needed for International Student Orientation, Jan. 16
- Let’s Talk: CAPS off-site counseling at ISSO
- Community News, Announcements & Information
- Have Immigration Questions? Come to ISSO Office Hours
Whether you are a new or continuing student, the ISSO welcomes you to the 2013-2014 academic year and to the first edition of our monthly electronic newsletter!
Our newsletter contains immigration updates and reminders, and the latest information about ISSO services; it is very important that you read it! View the ISSO newsletter archive here.
We thought this first newsletter would be a good opportunity to introduce (or re-introduce) you to each staff person in the ISSO team:
Brendan O’Brien, Director
Brendan O'Brien has worked in the ISSO since 1989 and became director of the office in 1998. He entered the field of international education after studying abroad in Kenya and Israel as an undergraduate, and in France as a graduate student. He enjoys travel and learning about the history and culture of other countries. Brendan's wife Sachiko works in the Vet College. Their two young daughters keep them very busy. Brendan enjoys all sports, particularly basketball, swimming, running, biking and American football. Brendan enjoys working in the ISSO and looks forward to meeting as many new students as possible!!
Laura Taylor, Associate Director
Laura has been at the ISSO for 18 years. She is a native of the area, but has also lived in England, Colorado and, briefly, Indonesia. In her spare time, she likes to dance, make music, bike, run, garden, paint and kayak. Laura loves the Ithaca community, and never tires of the beauty of the region.
Sarah Hilsman, Associate Director for Student Immigration Services
Sarah came to Cornell in 1980 for her undergraduate degree in Government, then transferred to Fine Arts and has worked at Cornell off and on since then. She started at the ISSO in 2002 after advising international students at University of Texas at Austin. Although Sarah grew up partially in Manhattan, she far preferred her adventures in the woods and fields as a kid in a tiny town in Connecticut famous for Lyme Disease (Lyme, CT). She has traveled in India, Turkey and Italy among other places. Sarah has a college-aged daughter and enjoys yoga.
Adriana Rovers, Associate Director for Programming Services
Adriana began working for Cornell in 1995, and at the ISSO a little over 11 years ago. She is the Associate Director for Programming Services. Coming to the ISSO was a great career move and has been a very rewarding experience. Her family is from the Netherlands, and her parents immigrated to Canada after the second World War. Her parents' experience has made her especially sensitive to the challenges that many internationals face when arriving in a new country. Outside of the office in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her four grown daughters who are all world travelers, flower gardening, 1890's house restoration projects, traveling, and keeping physically active with swing and cajun/zydeco dancing, biking and hiking.
Elizabeth Shedd, Immigration Advisor and Program Coordinator
Elizabeth has been at the ISSO for a little over six years. She's originally from the Washington, DC area but grew up in Ithaca, and has attended school in Ireland and France. She's traveled throughout Europe but unfortunately hasn't see the Scandinavian countries (yet). When she's not at the ISSO, you can find her cooking, writing, watching movies or dancing.
Bill Webster, Immigration Data Specialist
Bill is responsible for monitoring and maintaining international student and scholar data. He is an avid mountain biker, skier and motorcyclist.
Steve Shumway, Administrative Manager
Steve has been employed at Cornell since 1989 and has spent the last ten years at the ISSO. When not at work, he enjoys immersing himself in nature -- hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing are his favorite pursuits. He spends as much time as possible in the Adirondack Park of northern New York state. In fact, Steve and his wife Fran have successfully climbed all 46 of the high peaks of the Adirondack mountains.
Scott Beemer, Immigration and Programming Assistant
Scott has been with the ISSO for six years. A Cornell graduate from the Class of 2003, Scott majored in government and history. He traveled to Japan after graduation and taught English in two high schools through the JET Program. He worked at the Johnson School from his return to the United States in 2005 until he joined the ISSO. Scott is the father of three young children. He enjoys travel, creative writing, and photography.
Amanda Hooker, Immigration and Programming Assistant
Amanda joined the ISSO in August 2009. She is originally from Whitney Point, NY, just south of Ithaca. Amanda started her career at Cornell in 2007 in the Student Employment office and has since worked in Alumni Affairs and Development and University Communications. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and also enjoys reading, sewing, finding hidden waterfalls, and wine tours in the beautiful Finger Lakes region. Amanda is extremely excited to be working in ISSO and enjoys meeting (and helping) people from all over the world.
Adam Blakeslee, Immigration and Programming Assistant
Adam, is a native Ithacan who began his career with Cornell University in 2004 and with the ISSO in 2010. Adam has spent many years in the hospitality industry working both in Ithaca and Cape Cod, always striving to provide exemplary service. While not serving the international community at the ISSO, Adam enjoys spending time with his family and dogs Ocho and Odie. His other activities include; serving as captain of his billiards team, playing ice hockey, travelling, home brewing and completing projects on his house. He has spent time in Peru, venturing to both Machu Pichu and Choquequirao.
Graduating after this semester? Apply EARLY for F-1 OPT! If you are graduating this fall semester, and you want to work on F-1 OPT after graduating, APPLY EARLY for your F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization. The application does go to the immigration service centers and these applications have slowed down a great deal in recent months. It can take 3 months to receive their OPT work cards. You may start applying NOW if you will graduate after this Fall semester. Please read about OPT, and download an application from our OPT web pages or attend one of our workshops listed here.
Fall 2013 Graduates: Discuss your Future Plans with ISSO! If you are graduating from Cornell this December (your immigration end date is January 21st, 2014) and you plan to stay in the U.S. to either work or to pursue another degree, please come to the ISSO to discuss your plans. In order to maintain your valid immigration status in the U.S., there are specific procedures you will need to complete in order to do any of the following:
- to work while in F-1 status after you graduate
- to work while in J-1 student status after you graduate
- to go on to another degree at a Cornell
- to go on to another degree at a different school
Check with the ISSO advisor on duty about any of the above or any other plans you may have after you graduate.
Travel Reminders: Leaving the U.S. at Winter Break?
Make sure you have the correct Re-Entry Documents!!!
If you will be leaving and re-entering the U.S., PLEASE be sure that you have all
the documents for re-entry as described on these web pages:
- Documents you need to have to re-enter the U.S.
- If you need to apply for a new visa stamp, please read this web page.
Annual Traditional American Thanksgiving Feast
12:00-3:00 pm (with seatings at Noon and 1:30 pm)
Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery
This event is sponsored by the ISSO and CU Dining, and is made possible through the generosity of our many co-sponsors across campus. You are cordially invited to join other members of the Cornell community for the 26th Annual Traditional American Thanksgiving Feast! Tickets will be sold online at: issotickets.com
International Student Orientation
10:00 AM-3:30 PM, Memorial Room in Willard Straight Hall
For all incoming undergraduate, graduate and professional and transfer students. This orientation program will provide essential immigration and legal information, guidelines on health and safety, and tips for academic success. Come and meet other new international students and receive a warm welcome from student volunteers who are prepared to share their experiences at Cornell. The staff from the International Students and Scholars office (ISSO) look forward to meeting you, and answering any questions that you may have. Lunch will be provided.
First International Coffee Hour* of the new year!
3:30-5:30 PM, Big Red Barn
Meet new friends over light refreshments and world music. All are welcome!
Skiing, Snowboarding, or Tubing at Greek Peak
Register for this trip, and purchase a ticket online beginning at 9:00 am on Tuesday, February 4th. Once details have been finalized, trip information will be available at: issotickets.com
Valentine's Day Celebration at Coffee Hour
3:30 PM-5:30 PM, Big Red Barn.
*Every Thursday while classes are in session, join us for International Coffee Hour from 3:30-5:30 PM in the Big Red Barn. Meet new friends over light refreshments and world music. All are welcome!
Are you interested in taking one of our trips? Here is what you need to know! Trip announcements will be sent to iPrograms-L and international-L e-lists. Spaces are generally limited and participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. In most cases, minimal trip fees will apply. Registration and payment for trips are being processed online through University Ticket Sales. Prior to registering for a trip, if you have not already done so for a previous trip, you will need to create an account at issotickets.com
Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The ISSO has three different electronic mailing lists, each with a distinctly different purpose. ISSO-NEWS-L is required all currently registered international students. The ISSO uses this list to send students important immigration-related updates and reminders, as well as our monthly electronic newsletter. Students are automatically added (or removed) from the list each academic year, and only ISSO list administrators may post announcements. If you are a currently registered international student and think you are not receiving list postings, please contact email@example.com to request that we add you.
iPrograms-L Join this e-list if you are interested in receiving announcements specifically about ISSO trips, programs, and non-immigration services. This list has open membership (meaning anyone is welcome to join), but only ISSO list administrators may post announcements.
International-L This list has been established by the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to facilitate communication and camaraderie within the international community at Cornell. Cornell's international community is comprised of international students and visiting academic staff (past, present & future,) their family members, and other members of the Cornell and Ithaca community who share an interest in international & cultural affairs.
You may use this list to post announcements of upcoming events, find information, meet new friends, or discuss current events and issues of local or global concern. Anyone is welcome to join this list, and your opinions are welcome, but please be respectful of others. The ISSO reserves the right to remove members who post messages that are offensive, obscene, or personally attack a list member. Also keep in mind that replies to this list will go to all members of the list, so if you wish to respond privately to a message, please check your "TO" line before sending your reply.
For information about joining iPrograms-L or International-L, visit http://www.isso.cornell.edu/about/interl.php.
On November 28th, the ISSO and its co-sponsors will host the 26th annual Thanksgiving Feast at Robert Purcell Marketplace Eatery. We need a team of responsible students and scholars who are willing to work one three-hour shift in serving food, cleaning tables and/or washing dishes in exchange for a free ticket to this very popular event - 800 people are expected this year and volunteers are indispensable to making this event happen.
Information Session on November 13th at 4:45 at the ISSO, B-50 Caldwell Hall – mandatory for all new volunteers.
If you’re interested, please respond to Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers are very important to the success of this event. Because it is a University holiday, Cornell Dining will not have the standard number of employees working at Robert Purcell. Instead, volunteers will serve food on the buffet line, transport food from the kitchen to the buffet, clear dishes from tables, and help wash and dry dishes.
We will need 22 volunteers, working in two shifts. Shift 1 volunteers will arrive at 11:00 AM and will work until 2:00 PM, after which they can enjoy the Thanksgiving meal. Shift 2 workers should arrive by Noon to eat, and be prepared to start working promptly at 1:00 PM. The second shift ends at 4:00 PM.
- Attend the mandatory Volunteer Information Session and sign up for a shift.
- Once you sign up for a shift, you are committing yourself to the event.
- Read and sign Cornell’s Volunteer Agreement form.
- Arrive promptly for your shift.
- Wear comfortable clothes that you will not mind getting damp or dirty, and most importantly, wear comfortable shoes with good traction. Wet floors can be slippery!
Do you remember your first days as a new international student at Cornell
or in another country? What do you know now that you wish you had known
when you first arrived? Here is your opportunity to share your wisdom with
new international students and welcome them to Cornell!
We're looking for 10-15 student volunteers (grads and undergrads) to assist with January's New International Student Orientation program which will be held:
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
10:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Willard Straight Hall, Memorial Room
Volunteers will be asked to assist with sessions by handing out
information, discussing their own experiences, and making the new students
feel welcome. Lunch will be provided.
There will be a volunteer information meeting on Tuesday, January 14th,
4:30-5:30 pm at the ISSO in B-50 Caldwell Hall. At this time we will discuss the agenda and format of the orientation program, assign duties, and provide copies of the handouts students will receive. Volunteers can sign-up for only a few hours or for the whole session.
If you are interested in volunteering, please email Adriana Rovers (email@example.com) and indicate if you are a grad or undergrad, your major, country of citizenship, and whether or not you will be able to come to the planning meeting on January 14th. Thanks so much!
Each Monday, from 2:30-4:30 PM, counselor Steven Andrews, Ph.D., from Gannett Health Services will be available at the ISSO for free and confidential counselling and consultation. No appointment is necessary! Graduate students, undergraduate students, and family members are welcome to come talk to him about:
- personal growth and challenges
- depression, anxiety and stress
- relationship issues
- family issues
- cultural, racial and ethnic issues
- sexual health concerns
- academic concerns
- financial concerns
- any other issues of concern
- referral and information
In addition to Thursday afternoons at the ISSO, CAPS counselors are available Monday through Friday at various locations on campus. For more information about Counselling and Psychological Services and a schedule of available times for off-site, walk-in consultations visit: http://www.gannett.cornell.edu/LetsTalk.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get an annual flu vaccine to reduce the risk of influenza. Getting vaccinated is especially important for college students as it helps to reduce your risk of missing classes and falling behind. The sooner you get vaccinated, the longer you’ll be protected.
To help make vaccination easier, Gannett is offering FREE flu shots and mist to all registered students at FLU CLINICS located throughout campus. All you need to bring is a CORNELL ID. Check the schedule on the Gannett website. Check frequently as the schedule will be updated often.
Have questions about flu or flu vaccine? Call Gannett at 607 255-5155.
The Language House provides a setting in which students can become comfortably fluent in one of our target languages: Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. To this end, the House houses 54 undergraduate students, who are working to develop their language skills and who wish to learn more about related cultures, as well as 6 paid Native Speakers who serve as language mentors and activity coordinators. They dine together 4 times per week, have weekly conversation hours and participate in other activities. Activities might include debating in model UNs, cooking a traditional meal, playing board games, watching foreign movies, practicing calligraphy, taking salsa lessons, etc. A Faculty Fellow also works with each language section to enhance programming. Once a year each language section may also take a cultural immersion trip to a nearby area or a research trip somewhere more distant, funding pending.
We are currently recruiting students and Native Speakers for the 2014-15 academic year.
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE DECEMBER 1ST, 2013
Student residents must be full-time, enrolled undergraduate Cornell student and have a conversational grasp of the target language. Interviews will be conducted to assess language skills, if necessary.
Native Speaker staff must be Cornell graduate students or upperclassmen. They serve as language mentors and activity coordinators and are compensated with a free room in Boldt Hall and a partial meal plan. For more details, please visit the website.
If you would like to visit the Language House to get a feel for the program, you are welcome to join us for an evening meal or other activity. Please email me so that I can arrange a time for you come.
We look forward to the possibility of your joining us.
Director, Language House
G05 Alice Cook House
Ithaca, NY 14853
ISSO Advising Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 9-12:00; 1:00-4:30
Advisors are available on a walk-in basis except from 12-1 P.M. daily, or by appointment. You may stop by to see us during office hours, check out our website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 255-5243.