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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
1525 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506

December 19, 2018

Office of International Programs staff present at NAFSA Regional II conference

Submitted by Mary K. Pyle

K-State's Office of International Programs staff presented at the recent NAFSA Regional II conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, with more than 10,000 members, is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. Their leadership also works to advocate for policies and practices to ensure a more interconnected world.

Regional conference attendees from the Office of International Programs were Joe Milostan, director of Education Abroad; Sara Thurston, director of International Student and Scholar Services; Maria Beebe, associate director of International Student and Scholar Services; and Stacey Bailey and Jake Speirs, International Student and Scholar Services staff. 

Milostan serves as the NAFSA Region II Team Education Abroad Knowledge community liaison. He provided education abroad updates and international education updates in NAFSA region II. He also delivered the "Study Abroad Visa Critical Update" session, which provides study abroad professionals important updates on study abroad advising related to student visas.

Thurston, a current NAFSA board member, represented the NAFSA board at the regional conference and shared overall academic international trends on the board's behalf.

Thurston also participated in NAFSA's Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., where NAFSA board members visit members of Congress to advocate and advise the economic impact that international students bring to their respective states. Thurston indicated that NAFSA's advocacy efforts urge U.S. government leaders to enact proactive policies that will ensure the United States remains the top choice for prospective international students.

The NAFSA homepage currently features a scrolling photo of Thurston from NAFSA's Advocacy Day outside of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts' office with his staffers that include a K-State alumna and Esther Brimmer, NAFSA's executive director and CEO.

Beebe co-led a preconference workshop regarding J-1 Advising updates. The workshop, "J-1 Advising: Intermediate," examined the grey areas of J advising as well as the development of policies, procedures and practices in maintaining a J program.

Thurston and Beebe also led a book discussion session for the book "Saving Fish From Drowning" by Amy Tan.

Additional participants in workshops and sessions were Bailey and Speirs.

Grant Chapman, associate provost for the Office of International Programs, said NAFSA just released new data showing that the more than 1 million international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $39 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 455,622 jobs during the 2017-2018 academic year. This represents a 1.2 percent increase in job support and creation and a 5.8 percent increase in dollars contributed to the economy from the previous academic year. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, education currently ranks as the nation's sixth largest services export.

Chapman continued that further analysis showed that three U.S. jobs are created or supported for every seven enrolled international students by spending in the following sectors: higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications and health insurance.