Assistant Director, International Student Services (PDSO/RO) — International Education and Services
I've been part of the SEMO family since I was 10 years old! I enjoyed my college years here so much that I couldn't wait to start a career here once I completed grad school.
In my role I help international students in many aspects including anything from involvement on campus to dealing with acculturation and homesickness issues. My primary role though is serving as the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) for F1 students and the Responsible Officer (RO) for J1 students which means I help students maintain their legal status while studying in the U.S. In this role I also serve as a resource for faculty and staff in other departments.
When I'm not working in the International Village, I enjoy teaching trumpet lessons to kids from all over the Southeast Missouri region and I love performing throughout the region. I also love fishing, golfing, jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles, but I especially love any time I get to hang out with my husband Ken and our family and friends.
Fun Fact: I was the very first and longest serving Rowdy the Redhawk!
Describe your job in the Office of International Education and Services/Intensive English Program.
In my role I help students in many aspects including anything from involvement on campus to dealing with acculturation and homesickness issues. My primary role though is serving as the Pricipal Designated School Official (PDSO) for F1 students and the Responsible Officer (RO) for J1 students which means I help students maintain their legal status while studying in the U.S. In this role I also serve as a resource for faculty and staff in other departments.
Besides SEMO, where else have you worked and/or studied?
I have a Bachelor of Music Degree in Trumpet Performance as well as a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Leadership from Southeast Missouri State University. While studying at SEMO, I worked at my hometown bank every summer and that is when I realized I loved working with different people throughout the day. I have a Master of Music degree from Oklahoma City University and it was during my studies there that I learned to love working with international students. There were many international students in the music program there and I was a supervisor at the library where a majority of the employees were international students. After graduating from OCU, I returned back to SEMO and began working in the Office of Admissions while working on my doctorate in Educational Leadership through the University of Missouri’s statewide cooperative program, which I completed in May 2018. Three years later I began working in the Office of International Education and Services as an International Student Counselor (DSO/ARO). I the Assistant Director (PDSO/RO) in December 2019. I have taught UI100 First Year Seminar to a class made up of all new International Students which was an awesome experience!
What is one thing you like about working at SEMO?
My family has been involved with SEMO since I was 10 years old. It holds a special place in my heart and the faculty and staff have done so much for me and are partly responsible for making me the person I am today. Each day I try my best to reverse the role and help the next generation of students. I love the family feel here and I love the city of Cape Girardeau and all it has to offer.
What are your favorite things to do in and around Cape Girardeau?
I’m a music geek, so I love all of the live music performances given at the River Campus or just in the downtown area. I also love the many festivals that happen throughout the year. Oh…and food! I LOVE TO EAT and there’s plenty of awesome restaurants in Cape Girardeau and the surrounding area.
What is one interesting fact about you?
I was the very first Rowdy the Redhawk, our school mascot and portrayed Rowdy for 5 ½ years! I was also the first Captain Catfish for the Cape Catfish baseball team which is part of the Summer Prospect League. I love to interact with people and will take every opportunity I can get to practice my dance moves!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I have yet to visit New York City. I really want to see some Broadway shows and hear the New York Philharmonic perform live. I've been to Scotland, England, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. I hope to add Ireland, New Zealand and Singapore to the list of international excursions I would like to complete in the next decade.
What is one piece of advice you would give to SEMO students (international or domestic)?
GO TO CLASS AND GET INVOLVED!! (Okay, technically two pieces of advice)