Throughout my career I have been able to hone my professional experience into a strong foundation ideal for furthering the success of any organization that I work with.
I have a history maintaining and managing departmental budgets through payroll, leave balance maintenance, accounts receivable and payable, and budget summation. These budgets often involved accounts worth millions of dollars and the need to collaborate with participants located across the United States to ensure their proper maintenance. These roles also required the supervision of staff in support of the greater college or department’s staff as well as our external clients.
Communication is my most natural talent and I have leaned into it over the course of my life with wonderful results, including the publication of my debut novel and creation of my website. In fact, I am currently working on my next novel which will be a historical fiction set in the (wild) American West.
I have a background in copy and page editing for a local newspaper in my hometown which included the distribution of story assignments, copy editing, resource management, page design and functionality, as well as my own role as a journalist. As an editor it was vitally important to notice the smallest detail out of order including whether or not text aligned across the articles on the page. This attention to detail has reached into all areas of my life and contributes daily to my organizational skills.
Over the last decade, I have built websites, hosted blogs, contributed content to multiple websites, and provided editing services. I started my adventure in webdesign back in the grand ol’ days of Geocities, transitioned into LiveJournal, ventured into the blogging world with Blogger, helped create merchant websites on Wix, and have survived the ever-changing editing tools of WordPress. Much of my experience has been a result of self-study and using the wonderful resource of the internet as my teacher, however, I do have formal training in business marketing; formal, informal, academic, and creative writing styles; editing; and web development. This includes courses specifically designed for writing for the web and SEO best practices.
I have also served as the co-leader of the Communications Committee in my current office to help our department audit the information we disseminate to our international students and how that information is provided. One of our committee’s goals is to find creative ways to disseminate information throughout each semester to our international and domestic clients regarding immigration regulation changes and reminders rather than relying on email communications in an effort to overcome our students’ and colleagues’ email fatigue. Avenues we have pursued include social media posts, YouTube videos, infographics, and push notifications. Most recently, I collaborated with our Communications Manager in the migration of our entire website to a new platform. This required delegating content review to our Communications Committee members, and working as the primary leader for content creation, design, and menu restructuring our website.
Acting in a fast paced, high stakes environment has become second nature to me, especially in my current position. As a SEVIS Coordinator I am responsible for the immigration records of just under 2,300 international students and scholars at Colorado State University. Proper attention to detail, communication between student and the US Government, and ability to prioritize and complete several time sensitive projects which occur at the same time are all crucial skills for the success of this position. The consequences of failing to maintain these records accurately and in accordance with immigration law can result in the deportation of a student or even the loss of Colorado State University’s ability to host international students in academic programs.
The complexity of the SEVIS Coordinator position requires constant navigation of immigration regulation changes and the ability to communicate these changes not only to our colleagues such as academic advisors, but, and perhaps most importantly, our international students and scholars who speak English as a second language. It is absolutely imperative that I be able to translate often convoluted information into bite sized contexts and interpret those regulations’ applicability to the individual so that I can properly serve them. I am often required to present the same information through different approaches in order to ensure that the student or scholar is able to understand. This requires that I possess an intimate knowledge of the regulations, an ability to collaborate with my colleagues about soft interpretations, and a degree of communication creativity in order to be successful.
A love for collecting, maintaining, and analyzing data related to our international population is also crucial to the success of this position. Through progressive automation, collaboration with my team, and brainstorming new and innovative ways to understand the application of the data we collect and maintain I am able to ensure that other members of my office have the resources they need to perform their daily tasks and I perform my own. Such tasks include the assignment, organization, and updating of records in response to student and scholar immigration benefit requests; the development of eForms and the automation of applying eForm data updates to individual records; building, requesting, capturing, and analyzing surveys; and presenting data to both internal and external clients of our office as it relates to semester admission and enrollment numbers, regulation compliance, and record terminations or completions.
My ever-growing experience is a testament to my natural desire to continue to learn and develop as an individual whether it is through formal education, skills earned through work, or casual explorations into new fields such as coding or learning a new language. These are skills I am proud to possess knowing that I earned them through perseverance, curiosity, and a love of knowledge. I can’t wait to see what I learn next.