Welcome Team increases international student satisfaction at Nebraska
The International Student Barometer, a global benchmark of the international student experience, reports in its latest study that the percentage of international students who are satisfied with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s point-of-arrival experience has grown from 69% to 92% in just four years.
This was since 2015 when the International Student Welcome Team was organised. This year’s team is comprised of 29 international student mentors from 10 countries speaking 15 different languages. The team greeted 115 of the 270 incoming international students at the Lincoln airport between the August 18-20 arrival dates for the Fall 2019 intake.
The high rating is also reflected in the students’ feedback during the orientation where 94.6% of international students either agreed or strongly agreed to feeling welcomed when arriving in Lincoln and 96.5% were either very satisfied or satisfied with the university’s formal welcome.
Aside from meeting the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s incoming students at the Lincoln airport, the ISW team shuttles them to campus and assists them in getting to their hotel or off-campus accommodation.
Shridula Hegde, who arrived from India in 2016, has this to say: “The university greeting team was amazing and comforting. It was the perfect way to start my Nebraska experience.” She adds that the transition to college life can be difficult especially for international students who are so far from the comforts of home and family. “I know first-hand how big of an impact Nebraska’s welcome and orientation programs can have on students. I can’t think of anything more awesome than helping new students feel as welcomed as I did when I arrived in Nebraska,” adds Shridula who is now an International Student Welcome team mentor herself.
Incoming Freshman Computer Science Simon Chen from China is happy with his welcome experience. “I’ve travelled for 22 hours to get here and it really means a lot that the University was here to meet us. I like that we do not have to worry about how we are going to get to campus. It will help me focus on school,” he says.
Incoming Sociology Major Katie Brooks from Australia shares her own experience. “It was a long flight – I left at 9 a.m. yesterday and it’s now noon tomorrow back home. Getting to Omaha would have been much easier. But knowing that I could land here and not worry about getting to campus was worth the extra time. This welcome has been even better than I expected.”
UMBC, a global university model for supporting student achievement
Times Higher Education (THE) cites the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a model for supporting student achievement by graduating more low-income and minority students in the sciences, referring to this strength as ‘the holy grail of academia.’
UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski calls it ‘inclusive excellence.’ The University’s work to support underrepresented students in STEM fields has led to investments in support programs for students of all majors across UMBC. “Everybody wants to understand our model,” he says. He qualifies that the lessons learned in one area can inform on another. So far, the University has been replicating its efforts university-wide to achieve greater impact.
THE points out that UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholarship Program, which is focused on minority scholarship and awareness in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), is considered the gold standard in supporting diverse students in STEM fields. UMBC is the #1 producer of African American undergraduates who go on to complete postgraduate degrees and #2 for African American undergraduates who complete a doctoral degree in any STEM field in the United States. The program is serving as a model for other U.S. universities following suit, according to Times Higher Education.
UMBC ranked a leading global and U.S. university yet again
The Times Higher Education (THE) and Wall Street Journal College Rankings 2020 note that UMBC performs particularly well in student outcomes and learning environment. Outcomes include factors such as graduate salary, university reputation and graduation rate. Environment includes faculty and student diversity, international students and student inclusion.
The 2020 THE World University Rankings recognises UMBC as among the top 800 universities worldwide and #130 among U.S. universities, performing highly in faculty research and citation impact.
Why a Stevens OPT eligible, STEM-focused master’s degree is highly sought-after globally
International students from China, India, Colombia, Nigeria and a few other countries all agree that one of the main reasons why they study at Stevens Institute of Technology is to gain valuable post-graduation work experience through the Optional Practical Training (OPT).
With two of its three Academic schools offering graduate programs that are OPT STEM eligible plus strong partnerships with industry and government, a master’s degree at Stevens is a valuable commodity. “Stevens graduates with significant work experience from a U.S. company often present themselves with a competitive advantage when finally going back to their home countries,” says Brent Schmoker, EduCo’s Director of Recruitment for USA. “Some students even find themselves offered more permanent professional opportunities and work sponsorships. This gives them an option to stay in the country longer and earn a higher salary than what they would get back home,” adds Brent.
The OPT is an off-campus work authorisation allowing F-1 visa holders to gain relevant work experience in the U.S. during or after their studies. Students must be able to meet certain eligibility requirements such as:
Full-time study for at least one year
Intended employment must be relevant to the student’s major. A job offer is not needed to apply for OPT
Students can apply for OPT before or after completion of studies. For pre-completion of studies application, Stevens suggests that students should only do so when they are “as sure as possible of a job”
For post-completion OPT, students can lodge the application as early as 90 days before they complete their program of study and not later than 60 days after
Students who have used 12 months of the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are not eligible to apply for the OPT
Graduate students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 if applying for a pre-completion OPT.
Stevens’ Career Centre, awarded #11 Best Career Placement by the Princeton Review in 2020, partners with many highly regarded companies and hosts three on-campus Career Fairs each year. This year, all Career Fairs have been moved online and two of the three virtual fairs focuses on connecting current students with internship opportunities. On-campus recruiting where employers can set their own recruitment dates are also a regular feature at the Career Centre.
Stevens’ recognition as a top-ranked institution in the US, its reputation for producing the finest engineering, science and business talent and the Career Centre’s ability in preparing students and helping them access opportunities have all contributed to successful Stevens graduates. Its global reputation also means that many graduate students come from all parts of the world. The nationality mix provides an exciting diversity to its compact, close-knit graduate community. Yet another reason why Stevens Institute of Technology is one of the most sought-after institutions to complete a master’s degree.
SPU alumnus Ian Cook – From small-town Alaskan boy to Seattle’s Slalom Build GM
Seattle Pacific University alumnus Ian Cook has been the general manager of Slalom Build for eight years now and manages over 1,000 employees across North America with teams handling hundreds of engineering projects every year for some 400 clients.
Slalom Build is a BaaS (Build as a Service) company that helps businesses develop wide-ranging software tools including point-of-sale software, mobile apps for shipping companies to communicate and manage shifts with their truck drivers and products for exercise companies to assist customers in tracking workouts that consolidate data from fitness tracking devices.
Born in a house with no indoor plumbing and electricity until his fourth grade, Ian grew up on a homestead in the wilds of Kenai, Alaska, a small town with about 7,800 people.
In his youth, Ian recalls hauling wood in wagons and pumping water. “That certainly had a motivating factor for me in progressing my career,” he says.
It was around this time that he envisioned himself coding and working on computers. He decided to study computer science when he got into university.
Upon graduating, he landed his first job as a program manager of eSettleNow for five months before working in a number of software engineering jobs. He worked as Software Engineer at iSolute.com Inc for almost a year, Analyst at eCharge.com Inc for three years and Senior Manager at Accenture for over 11 years before finally landing the position of GM at Slalom Build.
On achieving success
For someone who came from a lower middle class background, Ian has overcome his hurdles and accomplished a lot in his personal life and professional career. He still continues to draw lessons from his youth and core values he developed through the years and put them to good use particularly in determining his priorities in life.
As GM of Slalom Build, he no longer builds software directly but he still likes to stay current in engineering and software development by getting certified in new programming languages.
At work, he runs meetings quickly and efficiently by communicating the reason for the meeting and providing a brief summary of what’s required. “One of my pet peeves is when people send me calendar invites with a vague title or subject and no description of what the meeting is going to be about,” Ian points out. “I especially dislike it when a meeting is blocked over another meeting I already have on my calendar.”
His advice for managing everyday work and life? “The most important thing to me is having a firm handle on your core values and knowing that those are being lived out.” He adds that there are so many competing demands for time both at home and at work that he goes back to his core values to anchor him, one of which is family.
Ian shares, “While at home, one of the rules I follow is putting my phone down and basically considering it the property of the family; that helps me stay present. Typically, if I need to use my phone or dedicate my attention to non-family related things, I’ll clear it with my wife. I try to talk proactively and intentionally about when I can come back mentally and fully be there, as opposed to looking up and realising I haven’t been present.”
Duquesne University’s Accounting program is now considered among the 52 internationally-certified Accounting programs in the world and one of 30 in the United States by theInstitute of Internal Auditors(IIA).
The IIA, an international association that brings together internal auditors from all over the world to professionalise the practice, has accepted Duquesne University as an Internal Audit Foundation Program in its global Internal Auditing Education Partnership (IAEP). Duquesne University is now the only school in Pennsylvania to have an IIA-certified program focused on the practice of internal audit.
Duquesne’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) Accounting program is one of the major concentrations under the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business which prepares students for a career in corporate, industrial, government, nonprofit or public accounting. Other majors include Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems Management, International Business, Marketing, Management and Supply Chain Management.
From co-op placement to professional career
As students are taught to develop critical thinking skills and learn to identify, analyse and recommend solutions for vital business issues, they also get an opportunity to participate in a co-op placement program and start their professional career upon graduating.
Duquesne’s BSBA-to-MAcc: Co-op to Career Program allows students to complete two degrees and qualify as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in just five years after completing their Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Accountancy programs. This also includes a paid co-op experience for one semester.
Students only pay tuition for 4½ years since they’re still considered full-time students while earning money at an accounting company in the second semester of their senior year. Once they have completed their 150-credit hour educational requirement, they can then sit for the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exam and increase their chances of landing their dream job in a top Accounting firm or receive priority consideration for permanent positions at partner firms upon graduating.
Companies participating in Duquesne University’s Co-op Program include the following:
Ernst & Young
Grossman Yanak & Ford
Hill, Barth & King
The Co-op Program is open to current freshmen or sophomores in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business who are able to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3 to remain eligible.