Keeping doors open

International students still look to Ferris staff after graduation

Most students may not see direct impact from Lisa Von Reichbauer’s work at Ferris but for international students, what she does can be life changing. 

Anudeep Nayakoti wouldn’t be in America today if it weren’t for the work of Von Reichbauer. Von Reichbauer is the assistant director of the Office of International Education at Ferris and a 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Staff Award for her work in that role. 

Nayakoti is a 2015 graduate of Ferris’ masters program who majored in information security and intelligence. After graduation, Nayakoti got hired to do internet technology work but when his student visa expired, Nayakoti says his employer didn’t want to hire a lawyer to fill out the paperwork to extend his time in America. That is when he contacted Von Reichbauer. 

According to Von Reichbauer, after graduation, all international students can apply for one year of work authorization in America on their student visa. For students in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, they are allowed to file for an additional two years on their student visa as long as they are employed in the field their degree is in or have a job offer in the field. Nayakoti was employed but his employer did not want to fill out the necessary forms. 

“Fortunately, I received an offer from an employer who filed my extension. I had just a week to do the process for my extension. Hopelessly, I contacted the International Student Advisor and did explain my situation,” Nayakoti said. “She has prioritized my work and did my paperwork very soon and I sent the mail finally. I would be so grateful eternally to the International Student Advisor and her assistants for being so supportive. It’s because of the exposure and the experience I gained in the past year has helped me grow enormously.” 

For Von Reichbauer, she enjoys being able to have a positive impact in the life of students. 

“I absolutely love my job,” Von Reichbauer said. “Some students are planning to go home after they get this practical experience and others are hoping to be sponsored on a work visa in the U.S. and to be part of giving them those opportunities and helping them come through the process, because the immigration system in the U.S. is a complicated beast and it’s not easy for students to navigate, so to be able to be supportive of that and to open up their opportunities and help keep doors open when they may be in a situation to have them closed, you know, that’s very gratifying.” 

One of Von Reichbauer’s co-workers, who wished to remain anonymous, praised her work in an email to the Torch. 

“Lisa is one of the most dedicated staff members that I have worked with who is committed to the University’s mission of serving ‘our rapidly changing global economy and society.’ She goes above and beyond to help our students in their pursuit to be successful through their academic experience here at Ferris,” the co-worker said. 

In addition to succeeding at her job, Von Reichbauer feels that she learns a lot, too. 

“I meet so many people from so many corners of the world, so I learn every single day. You do learn about the differences but the biggest thing I’ve learned is about our similarities. We’re all people, we all want the same things and so our differences enhance it. I’ve heard a quote that diversity is inherent in balance, so when things are balanced, diversity has to be a part of that,” Von Reichbauer said.

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