International Student and Scholar Services


Best Practices: Support for International Postdocs

Thursday, June 2
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Room: CCC, 301-303

Unlike support for international students, there continues to be very little infrastructure, funding, and staffing to serve international scholars. This session will provide three models of services to scholars, including the full cycle of assessment, design, delivery, and outcomes. Discussion will also focus on compliance with the new J regulations.

Learning Objectives:

Parker Emerson

Associate Director
Yale University Office of International Students and Scholars
New Haven, CT

Parker Emerson is the associate director of the Yale Office of international students and scholars. There he oversees the employment based visa processes and services to international scholars. Prior to joining Yale Emerson was a leading member of the Harvard International Office for nearly 20 years working with all non-immigrant visas and developing programs to support an international population of more than 6,000 international students and scholars. Emerson has also been an adjunct faculty member of Lesley University, teaching in the masters degree program on Intercultural Relations. He has worked with NAFSAfor over two decades, serving on leadership teams and earning awards for his contributions to the field. In addition, Emerson has conducted trainings and presentations for professional associations including AACRAO, AILA, ICC, NPA, and the SRA. Since chairing the U.S. State Department-sponsored Country Culture Workshop on Cuba, Emerson has remained an active member in student and faculty exchanges between the United States and Cuba.


Ilana Smith

Director, International Offices
Caltech / JPL
Pasadena, California

Ilana Smith is the Director of the International Offices at Caltech and JPL. She has presented at other NAFSA national and regional conferences.


Sam Castaneda

Director, Visiting Scholars & Postdoc Affairs Program
University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

Sam Castañeda graduated with a BA in sociology from San Francisco State, and has worked for the University of California -- both at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses for more than 25 years. During this time, he created innovative programs that lent support to international students and scholars. Regionally, Sam also held leadership positions with Region XII of NAFSA. At the national level, Sam is currently chair of the newly formed NAFSA Postdoc Special Interest Group and is the institutional liaison between NAFSA and the National Postdoctoral Association.

At UC Berkeley, Sam was instrumental in the development of the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Program--one of the first postdoc offices in the University of California system, and also one of the first in the United States.

The VSPA Program, which Sam co-founded, seeks to maintain a research environment that fosters creativity, collaboration and community. As director of the VSPA Program, Sam has managerial oversight of the postdoctoral research enterprise.



Best Practices: Support for International Postdocs

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