Celebrating International Graduates 2020

New International Student Orientation group photo of students graduating in 2020. Taken in August 2016.

Four years ago these eager and new faces graced our campus for the first time. This week, our international seniors and WORLD Ambassador seniors will graduate and become alumni of Stetson University, but what would a beginning and ending be without the middle?  Four years ago we could not predict they would be such a pleasure to work with. nor could we predict that collectively they would win award after award in all areas of personal development. Some of their awarded development was for community engagement and service on and off campus, for outstanding grades and other academic measures, for leading their team to victory time and again, for leadership on campus and off, for outstanding performance in real world experiences locally, regionally . and nationally and for all other sorts of activities. We are so proud of everything they have accomplished and what they will continue to accomplish as alumni.  

While we are sad that we cannot have our normal celebrations to congratulate them on all of their achievements and to mark this milestone in their lives, we are looking forward to celebrating at commencement this December and we hope they can all return and take part in those events. We wish all of our graduates a safe and happy and successful future. Congrats Class of 2020! #hattergrad

Faculty-Led Program: Lunch and Learn

WORLD is now accepting proposals for the upcoming AY 2020/2021 Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs.  Each year, WORLD invites faculty from all disciplines at Stetson University to step outside of the DeLand campus and explore the possibilities of teaching abroad. 

Last month, Wendy Viggiano, Program Coordinator for International Learning, hosted a Lunch and Learn webinar on leading faculty-led programs abroad. She covered topics such as program types, student considerations, working collaboratively with WORLD, benefits of working with a study abroad provider, and walked through the proposal process.  You can check out each topic in the short videos provided here as well as on our YouTube channel.  We hope these informative videos will clarify the proposal process and encourage faculty to submit proposals. 

Stetson University has seen an increase in faculty-led programs abroad and we hope to continue that trend next year.  Students are eager to study abroad and we look forward to offering students more programs in a variety of disciplines to meet the demands of our students.  No matter the subject or discipline, WORLD can find the right location abroad for your course.  How can a new place enhance your teaching and the student’s understanding of the topic? Feel you don’t have the time to make all the arrangements and organize all the logistics of the program? Not sure even where to begin?  No worries!  WORLD is here to help you every step of the way.

Start your Faculty-Led Study Abroad Proposal and we will help you take care of the rest!

General Study Abroad Information and Benefits of Faculty Led Programs
Types of Faculty Led Program and Things to Consider
Student Concerns: Cost and Curriculum
Working in Collaboration with WORLD and the Benefits of Providers
Faculty Led Proposal Process and Timeline

FAQs for International F1 Students

Last updated : May 11, 2020

What are the latest guidelines for international travel related to re-opening Institutions of Higher Education from the American College Health Associations? Although not all of these guidelines are relevant to Stetson we will be following these to help us re-0pen international travel and support services for all students, faculty, or staff who have been traveling internationally and are planning to re-enter the campus environment:
• Should be encouraged or required to communicate their intentions with identified contacts at their institutions in order to receive critical relevant information well in advance of their anticipated return.
• Must follow state, tribal, territorial, and local health department recommendations and requirements.
 At this time, this includes quarantine at home for 14 days, checking temperature twice a day, monitoring for onset of symptoms of COVID19, and maintaining contact with the appropriate health department as directed.
 Directories of local (and tribal) health departments https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html
 CDC returning traveler guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html
Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era/page 18 International Students, Faculty (Including Visiting Faculty), and Staff Who Are
Incoming to or Present on Campus. There are many complex variables at play for our
international students and colleagues planning travel in the ever-evolving global COVID-19 situation.
• It is crucial to inform our international students and colleagues of relevant, reliable, and current travel health and safety resources and to encourage the serious consideration of current recommendations prior to travel.
• Every international student, faculty, and staff member is in a unique situation, which warrants individually tailored recommendations.

• All new or returning international travelers should refer to CDC returning travelers guidelines and review CDC’s “Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the U.S.” (available at
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-other-countries.html).
• Existing international students, faculty, and staff currently at an IHE in the U.S. who are considering travel to their home countries should review global travel restrictions as noted by the U.S. State Department and CDC (see above and in Resources).
• Faculty and staff contemplating travel with subsequent return to the U.S. to continue IHE studies or work must seriously consider:
 Current COVID-19 travel health risks and the possibility of significant unexpected changes in risks during their travels.
 Potential for abrupt disruption, cancellation, or other serious complications of the planned return to the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Rapidly changeable re-entry restrictions (including at any intermediate points in
itinerary).
International travel is an evolving situation. Most IHEs in the U.S. have canceled or prohibited international travel for any university-related reasons through August 2020.
Fall study abroad programs and research-based travel are being scrutinized at an individual institutional level, and many have thus far postponed making definitive decisions.
Incoming international students, faculty, and staff are faced with a multitude of uncertainties as well, and challenges and uncertainties abound in both host and
home institutions and countries. Considering the multitude of unknown factors involved with this pandemic, knowledge and resources to inform new international travel guidelines will emerge in the coming months, and ACHA will offer updates as appropriate.

My I-20 was signed before September 1, 2019.  Should I request a signature? YES. Everyone who has an I-20 with a signature on the travel page (2nd page) that is older than September 1, 2019 needs to get a new signature before leaving the US. If you have already left reach out to your DSO today.

If I leave the United States, do I have to return within the next 5 months or else my visa will expire?  As of March 23, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) temporarily waived the five month limit that an international student can be away from the US for students who remain in active status in sevis and in good standing.

I am worried my Visa will expire before the Covid-19 virus has passed and the borders reopen world wide. Has USCIS and Homeland Security made any adjustments to the way that will be handled? As of this time (April 8, 2020) there have been no changes in deadlines and expiration dates as associated with VISAs. Throughout the world wide health event the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (Nafsa) has been pushing for accommodations appropriate to the situation as has been enacted in other countries. As time has passed and there has been movement on this issue American Immigration Lawyers have made the decision to sue USCIS and Homeland Security to force them to suspend relevant deadlines and expiration dates. We will continue to share news as it comes in. Read the article at this link for more information. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/immigration-lawyers-sue-to-freeze-visa-deadlines-in-pandemic

How will I keep in compliance if I am not attending classes? You will be attending classes, just in a different way.  Do not allow yourself to fall behind.  Your teachers are responsible for helping you learn how to use the learning management systems they have set up for their instruction.  Be sure you understand.   Ask questions using the assigned formats.

What else should I take care of before I leave the United States? We have distributed a tracking form to help you keep your SEVIS record in compliance.  SEVIS is the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. We use the tracking form to report your physical address and other data  required by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). As an F1 student, UCSIS must have updated records of your address throughout your study experience.  Please watch your Stetson email for the form.

Do I have to fill out the tracking form if I am staying in the area?  YES

What do I do if I switch addresses before Stetson allows us to return?  Please alert your DSO (designated school official) that you are moving and need to re-file the WORLD Evacuation Form.   You will be sent a re-homing link to provide a new address.  DO NOT use the initial evacuation form; if you do, the 2nd Address Change may be overlooked.  Again, it is REQUIRED that we have the correct address on your SEVIS record.

My visa is expiring soon but I have applied for OPT?  Can I work OPT if it is approved on an expired visa?  YES.  The visa allows entry into the country. The 1-20 keeps your record up to date while you are here and allows USCIS to track you. As long as you do not cross an international border you can use your OPT to work. Please work with your DSO to keep your I-20 updated.

What do I do if I am witness to or I am subjected to discriminatory actions or comments? Please share your experience with the Dean of Students, Lynn Schoenberg, at lschoenb@stetson.edu. Our intent is to be very clear. There is no place at Stetson University for discriminatory behavior. 

Can I come to the WORLD Center if I need help?  No. As of the third week of March 2020 Stetson University has sent all non essential employees home. That means the World Office is closed until further notice. Staff from world are all working on line from 8-430 M-F to assist you and answer your questions.

How can I get help from someone at WORLD ? You have several options.  You can call the WORLD Center at 386-822-8165 during the hours of 8:00 am-4:30 pm M-F.  Or you can send any one of us an email or make an appointment at calendly.com:

Phentz@stetson.edu or Calendly.com/Phentz

Rlewis1@stetson.edu or Calendly.com/rlewis1-world

Wviggiano@stetson.edu or Calendly.com/wviggiano

How can I get advising for next fall while we are effected by the school evacuation? You can reach out to your faculty advisor, you can make an appointment with one of the WORLD Staff or Academic Advising will provide supplemental support to our Stetson community virtually. Our website, www.stetson.edu/academic-advising includes helpful content and resources for faculty, current students and prospective students. For specific inquiries you can reach us directly by contacting academic.advising@stetson.edu or the Academic Success department main line (ext. 7345).  Students in the Discovery Program are required to meet with their Secondary Advisor, Miguel Ortiz-Burgos, Coordinator for First-Year Advising. Discovery students were sent communication regarding their requirement to meet with our area to their Stetson email. Please contact Miguel Ortiz-Burgos at mortizbu@stetson.edu for any questions. 

Can DSOs electronically send signed Forms I-20 to students instead of physically mailing the forms? Yes, due to COVID-19, DSOs may electronically send Forms I-20 to student email addresses listed in SEVIS. In the case of a minor students, the email address may belong to their parent or legal guardian. Schools do not need to request permission from SEVP or report their plans to electronically send Forms I-20 as part of their COVID-19 procedural changes.

 I want to sign up for OPT starting this summer but I am not in the US. Can I apply from my home? No. At this time USCIS has not changed any of the laws impacting OPT. We anticipate there may be changes as we get closer to graduation but as of now you must be in the US to apply for OPT.

Stetson Students Participate in Internship with AIR Guatemala

 By Camila Morales Hernandez, ’20

(l-r) Students Sydney Arrington, Peter Greubel, and Matinicus C’Senger pose with AIR Guatemala founder and President (and Stetson Professor Emeritus, ), Dr. Anne Hallum in front of AIR’s Training Center

Over the summer, the Stetson students, Sydney Arrington, a Public Health major/Spanish minor, Peter Gruebel, also a Public Health major; and Matinicus C’Senger, double major in Economics and Philosophy and an Environmental Sustainability Fellow at Stetson, did a summer internship with AIR (Alliance for International Reforestation, Inc) Guatemala. During the experience, the students were able to work closely with local farmers to learn the practice of Regenerative Farming. The students also spoke Spanish during the entire time of the experience.

WHAT IS AIR GUATEMALA?

AIR is a non-profit organization improving human and environmental health in Guatemala.  With operations in Atlanta, Georgia and central Guatemala, AIR has trained over 4,000 farm families and planted almost 6 million native trees in Guatemala.  For over 25 years, AIR has implemented a community-based, five-year approach with great results and success.  AIR is a winner of the 2017 Equator Prize from the UN Environment Programme because of this successful model.  All salaried employees are local professionals, so ninety-two percent of funds and donations go straight to the field to implement projects and programs:  Rural school programs; tree nurseries; farmer training; and efficient, custom stoves.  AIR was founded in 1992 at Stetson University after Dr. Anne Hallum, Stetson University political professor, visited Guatemala for the first time and observed first hand the rural hunger and malnutrition, the barren mountainsides and mudslides, and the strength of the Maya people.

GOALS, PROCESS AND ACADEMIC PURSUITS:

Each year, one to three Stetson students are selected to participate in the AIR Guatemala internship program. All of their program expenses are covered by a generous endowment by Drs. David and Leighan Rinker. The main goal of the internship is for the student to provide tangible benefits to the local residents.  Likewise, the experience is designed to align with the academic pursuits of the students.  

Learning goals for the student interns include:

  • Discover the value and method for farming with trees (“Regenerative farming” aka “agroforestry”) for better anthropological and environmental well-being: The students planted trees where they brought the most benefit for the communities: Acatenango, Xibalbay, Paquixic, and Montellano. 
  • Learn  the effect of working with residents instead of for them. Residents requested help constructing efficient stoves from AIR Guatemala. Students constructed 3 stoves for two days, resulting in transformational lessons since they saw the living styles of the Mayan families, the hazards of breathing smoke all day, how close the families are and how fully their connection was to surrounding nature. 
  • Shadow the president of AIR Guatemala, Dr. Hallum. During the second week, a large group of volunteers arrived from Florida and Georgia, and all three Stetson students were enormously effective in welcoming these volunteers and showing them what they had learned the first week. Dr. Hallum also had all three students accompany her on important meetings with the AIR staff.  The interns were especially helpful in an unforeseen way: Dr. Hallum was prefacing a network technology of registering via GPS the exact location where each tree was planted, and then “selling” the planted trees to a company in Hong Kong for purpose of combating climate change. The staff—and Dr. Hallum—had to learn how to use this technology and naturally, the Stetson students were very comfortable with this fascinating technology and taught the staff the functions of it. 
  • Learning about the Mayan and Ladino cultures in Guatemala. An overarching goal is that students learned about the regional cultures while planting trees and building stoves in rural communities. For instance, one day, the women of the communities brought lunch in the field where the students were planting trees —they carried tortillas and hot soup in containers on their heads. The team also participated in two school programs with Mayan dances which the class students had prepared especially for AIR visitors.

FOOTPRINT LEFT IN GUATEMALA

The three students supported the construction of three fuel-efficient stoves which involved mixing cement, soaking and laying bricks—each stove required six-hours of work. The stoves have a chimney to ventilate smoke and prevent lung diseases; they also help to conserve trees.

Sydney Arrington helps build a stove for local residents.

The volunteers this summer—including the three students—planted approximately 2,000 trees. The trees were strategically located to prevent soil erosion and improve crops with nitrogen-fixing roots; prevent mudslides, and to protect water sources. As previously mentioned, the students taught AIR staff members and Dr. Hallum how to use the technology for photographing and syncing each tree. By the end of the two weeks, the team had registered and sold 886 trees to a company in Hong Kong.

Peter Gruebel plants trees in Guatemala

 The three students also participated in two rural school programs—helping to judge environmental contests and playing with children.

THE ADVENTURE DOES NOT STOP THERE!!

Apply to join this journey and work with Guatemalan communities in Summer 2020!!!  Applications are due by February 1, 2020.

This article was written based on Dr. Anne Hallum’s annual Air Guatemala report.

A Summer with UNITAR

By Camila Morales ’20

On Friday, October 18, I had the honor of giving a presentation to Stetson’s University Board of Trustees about my previous internships and the impact they have had in my professional life. This article is about the most recent one I had this 2019 summer in the United Nations Institute for Training and Research New York Office (UNITAR NYO).

I had the honor to work under the supervision of H.E. Ambassador Marco Suazo, UNITAR-NYO head of office ambassador, and Mr. Pelayo Alvarez, programme coordinator. Both of them served as invaluable mentors during this journey. I also worked alongside with remarkable young professionals, who I am happy to call my colleagues. UNITAR is a training arm of the United Nations, whose mission is to develop capacities to enhance global decision-making and to support country-level action for shaping a better future. The organization provides training and capacity development projects to assist mainly members of the least developed countries. In my time here I gained experience in finances and multilateral diplomacy. 

TAR team: Camila Morales ’20 (far left)

UNITAR allowed me to work in tasks that enhanced my two areas of studies: finances and world languages and cultures. I was able to hone my financial skills by presenting the project and budget proposals to members of the Permanent Missions to the United Nations and other organizations. Likewise, I was able to strengthen my technical skills by administering the underground finances and by developing the finance and statistics sections of the Midterm Summary Report.

During the internship, I assisted the office by supporting the logistics and program management to meet and work alongside mission representatives such as ambassadors and diplomats. I also supported developing and leading projects that equipped members of the diplomatic community with the capacity to contribute to the United Nations deliberative process and policy-making.

The most remarkable thing about my internship was the mentorship I received from my supervisors and my colleagues.

The UNITAR-New York Office team would always promote collaboration and professionalism. We were incentivized to take part in learning more about the United Nations and its projects. For example, I had the opportunity to attend the elections of the 74th President of the General Assembly, and the meetings of the Security Council. The UNITAR-New York Office also allowed interns to take part in the organization and the implementation of the UNITAR Economic and Social Council resolution.

We were invited to attend bilateral meetings among high officials of the United Nations. Additionally, we had the opportunity to manage and develop capacity building events which were co-organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development Goals and UNITAR for the SDGs Learning, Training and Practice Center during the High-Level Political Forum.

Camila Morales ’20 in a bilateral meeting of the United Nations (4th from right)

The professional background I acquired in UNITAR was exceptional, but the unique opportunity to be directly exposed to the United Nations system I experienced in UNITAR was invaluable. This is a chapter in my life I will forever treasure.

Camila Morales,’20, is a security analyst in the Roland George Investments Program at Stetson University. Morales, a senior finance major, works at WORLD: Rinker Center for International Learning.

UNITAR supports governments to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This article originally printed in LinkedIn and published at Stetson Today.

International Day of Peace –Join us today

Join WORLD and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Join us today, Sept. 18 from 11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m., in the Conrad Hall Lounge for conversations over lunch on the following topics:

  • Personal peace with Sensei Morris Sullivan, University Chaplain
  • Interpersonal peace with Dr. Leila Roach, Department of Counselor Education
  • Environmental peace with Nate Bodger ’19

Moe’s and Cultural Credit will be provided.

PEACE DAY 2019 THEME: CLIMATE ACTION FOR PEACE

The theme draws attention to the importance of combatting climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

WORLD Students Participate in Global Leadership Summit

by Gabby Cassidy

Over Spring Break 2019, WORLD ambassadors Zoe Weaver and Caylyn Gunby attended the Global Student Leadership Summit in Boston, MA.

This conference, for students who had participated in study abroad and other international programs, had a goal to help them develop skills as successful global leaders. It also focused on students from diverse and underrepresented populations, such as first-generation, racial/ethnic minority, students with disabilities, high financial need, LGBTQ+, etc. Many face obstacles acquiring educational and leadership opportunities.

Throughout the conference, Weaver found herself learning more than she expected from the sessions. She was pushed to see the bigger picture of education abroad.

“I was pushed to see my study abroad as a time that I developed personally and was finally able to articulate the challenges of my trip to those who would understand. Then, after listening to others tell their own stories, I realized that we each had a unique experience that created the larger picture of diversity abroad.”

The connections she made with other students helped her to understand her own experiences and the education she received while studying in South Korea and Taiwan. Weaver also learned about the importance of diversity in study abroad and was inspired to do more here at Stetson. She expressed her desire to connect with the Black Student Association, the Asia Pacific American Coalition, the Caribbean Student Association, and other multicultural organizations to develop more initiatives to get their members involved in study abroad programs.

“Although being a woman brings its own challenges to international travel, I further developed an understanding of my privilege during this conference as an able-bodied, white, American student. Through this understanding, I began to build a standard for myself when it comes to becoming an ally both abroad and domestically to students who lack the opportunity to do the same as I.”

Gunby felt that the conference was a great professional opportunity for her. The panels and speakers had a profound impact and helped her feel confident in her plans post-graduation. The chance to connect with graduate schools and professionals, as well as other students in her same positions, helped her to reflect on her identity and improve her confidence in speaking about her experiences.

“Being able to speak with professionals who are now in International Education, who taught English abroad through JET, Fulbright, and TAPIF made me feel like I was taking the right steps towards a career in International Education or International Affairs.”

Gunby would like to bring more networking opportunities to Stetson’s campus for international careers. Events such as the Global Citizenship Fair and Acerima could benefit from having a keynote speaker or speakers from minority groups.

“The keynote speakers at the conference were inspiring and helped all of the students get involved and excited about the activities.”

Overall, her experiences at the Global Leadership Summit helped her to grow professionally as well as to have more confidence in her abilities and plans for the future.

Enrollment in Scottish Experience up 37%

Student enrollment peaked during the fourth annual study abroad Scottish Experience, a collaborative of the University of the Highlands Islands Inverness College, Stetson University, Utah Valley University, and Jacksonville University. A total of 33 students participated in courses taughted by faculty from UVU, Jacksonville, and Stetson.

A centerpiece of the study abroad program is an embedded case study component where groups of students act as consultants to Scottish businesses and organizations to address an issue of pressing need.

Students and faculty take a quick break after presenting the outcomes of their case studies to business and organizational leaders.

Stetson’s Inaugural International Faculty Development Seminar Draws Diverse Disciplines to the Dominican Republic

A total of 10 Stetson University faculty and the WORLD Team descended on Santo Domingo during May 13-18, 2019 to learn how to better prepare students to learn abroad. Faculty hailed from business, education, humanities, social and natural sciences.

The seminar comprised classroom sessions on topics ranging from risk management and internationalization to curriculum integration and course assessment. Field trips to heritage locations and natural landscapes, such as the old colonial sugar mills and Three Eyes National Park, helped faculty consider the role of “place” in course design as well as how to balance high and low intensity learning experiences for students.

Los Tres Ojos (Three Eyes National Park) is a 50-yard open-air limestone cave located in eastern Santo Domingo.

Response to the seminar has been quite positive.

I feel so fortunate to be part of the journey we were on together. I feel that our relationship went to the next level…The moment we started together and ended pleasantly, it was a lesson in every moment and I am confident that this training will be helpful for all in launching our faculty led programs in future.”

Yes, echoing my colleagues for a wonderful opportunity and collegiality. Thank you WORLD and thank you everyone who participated 😍”

Thank you all for such a unique and valuable experience in DR. I would be happy to meet for regular lunches sharing ideas about the next steps in organizing faculty-led study abroad trips. Special thanks to the WORLD. You are a great team of professionals!🤗”

I’m continually amazed at and proud to be a part of Stetson’s wonderful community.”

More images

About the Stetson International Faculty Development Seminar

The IFDS program at Stetson University honors the longstanding commitment and dedication of Drs. David and Leighan Rinker to international learning. The centerpiece of the faculty development program is an immersive five-day experience where Stetson faculty participate in study abroad. The overarching goals are to equip Stetson teacher-scholars with best practice strategies for how to use location to deepen content, elevate student engagement and intercultural learning, develop safe, compliant and academically-rich study abroad programs, and promote Stetson’s value of global citizenship.

WORLD partnered with CIEE to co-offer the seminar. CIEE is a premier provider with significant expertise developing and implementing international faculty development seminars and study abroad experiences for students,. Contact world@stetson.edu for more information.