Chalimar Swain Director
Chalimar Swain joined the University of Utah in 2010. She brings 10+ years of experience in international education to ISSS and is currently completing a joint PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy and Masters in Public Administration. Her favorite part of the job is the ever-changing nature of the work- there’s always something new to learn. When she’s not at work she enjoys climbing, cooking, hiking, spending time with her husband, and chasing after her twin toddlers as they explore their world.
Jessica Schlotfeldt Associate Director
Jessica Schlotfeldt has been working in higher education at the University of Utah for close to 8 years. Jess received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography with a minor in Central and Southwest Asian Studies at the University of Montana, and recently received her TESOL certificate at the University of Utah. One of her favorite things at the office is to be the staff advisor for the Saudi Student Club, Mongolian Student Club, and the Malaysian Student Club. Jess loves to take road trips, discover southern Utah, and cheer for her favorite sports teams-Seattle Seahawks, Flamengo, and the UofU Utes!
Christina Strain Associate Director
Christina Strain joined the International Student & Scholar Services team in November 2011. She serves senior immigration office and works closely with immigration policy and regulation processes. As a Ute Alum, she not only enjoys the many outdoor activities Utah has to offer, but also enjoys traveling and exploring new places and cultures.
Sylvia Christensen Administrative Assistant
Originally from Brazil, Sylvia Christensen came to the U.S. to attend college. She has a B.A. in Design and several years of experience in the retail industry. She joined the University of Utah in 2010, and the ISSS team in 2015 as the Administrative Assistant. She enjoys working with international students and interacting with various cultures. Outside of work, she enjoys gardening, drawing, going to art museums, and spending time with her husband and family.
Steven Burnett has been working in international education for over 11 years; he currently advises F-1 students. Steven enjoys different languages and cultures; he has lived in Taiwan, Japan, and Russia and speaks some Chinese (Mandarin) and Russian. He received his undergraduate degree from the school down south (BYU) where he double-majored in Russian, and European Studies. He earned his Master’s of Library Science from Emporia State University in Kansas. When not at work, Steven enjoys spending time with his family and reading.
Annabel Cho joined the International Student & Scholar Services team in September 2014. She graduated from University of Utah with a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 2012. As an International Student Advisor, she advises F-1 students and is involved in International Student Orientation and International Student Ambassador Program. She speaks fluent Korean and English. When not at work, she likes to spend her time with her family at a quiet café or at a park.
Alisa Tank joined the University of Utah in September 2014 as an advisor for F-1 students.
She especially enjoys welcoming new students to campus during orientation weeks. Over
the past 10 years, she has contributed to the field of international education in
many capacities, including work at two study abroad organizations and an English language
school. Outside of the office, she can be found about and about exploring the region’s
Languages: French, Portuguese.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Kendra Taylor joined the University of Utah in October 2015. She has a Bachelor’s in Political Science, a Master’s in TESOL, and has worked in international education for over five years – in the US and abroad. Kendra is particularly interested in the languages and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa. She has facilitated several exchange programs from the MENA region, and is constantly inspired by the global changemakers she encounters through her work. When she’s not at the U, she can be found listening to podcasts while trail running in the mountains that surround the scenic Salt Lake Valley.
Cassandra Clark joined the International Student and Scholar Services team in July of 2016 as an F-1 and J-1 student advisor. She has a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in International Studies, and has worked in international higher education for five years. When not at work, Cassandra enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, and travelling.
Jessie Hughes has a Bachelor’s in History and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, both from the University of Wyoming. He has worked in international education since 2007. He has previously lived in California and Wyoming, before joining the International Student and Scholar Services team in February, 2017 as an advisor for F-1 students. Outside of work Jessie enjoys baking and hiking.
J SCHOLAR TEAM
Stephen Smith joined the University of Utah in January 2014 after earning a Master’s in Public Administration from LSU. He has worked in the field of international education for several years, and currently serves as the Lead Advisor, responsible for advising J-1 scholars and F-1 students on federal immigration regulations. Stephen also serves on the Orientation Team, introducing new scholars and students to the university and the programs and resources available to them. At work, he most enjoys helping to scholars and students interpret policy and discover the benefits of their visa type. And when not working, he enjoys golf, traveling, fishing, and snow skiing.
Ethan Webster has been with the University of Utah since March 2010. He is a proud alumni of the University of Utah with a double Bachelor ins Political Science and Urban Planning. He is a Student Advisor and works with the J scholar Team. When not at work Ethan enjoys spending time with his dog,politics, surfing, eating and cheering on the Utes!
Hadeel Al-Kebsi is an International Student from Yemen. She came to the U.S. in 2014 to study Business Management at the Rice Eccles Business School. She speaks Arabic and likes being involved in student clubs and activities on campus. She enjoys traveling, reading poetry, long drives with friends, listening to music, and being outdoors. She claims cooking is not one of her strong suits!
Alexis Baker was born and raised in the great state of Utah. She is a Health Promotions major and getting her minor in African American Studies. Other than working as a Peer Advisor for the front desk, Alexis is very involved on campus with being a part of the Black Union Student and a Resident Advisor for Housing. She enjoys meeting new people and learning new things. In her free time, Alexis loves to keep up to date on current social justice issues and hanging out with her friends.
Vivian Bentley was born in Utah, but hasn’t always lived here. She was able to live in Hawaii for several years where she was immersed in a variety of cultures. Vivian is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah and is also studying Chinese. Vivian is the President of the University of Utah Kendo Club (A Japanese Martial Art). When she is not at work she enjoys traveling, hiking, listening to music, and hanging out with her friends.
Chaise has worked in the ISSS office since 2014, and loves it! Coming from a Nigerian (Benin City, Edo state) background herself, she thoroughly enjoys meeting students from other cultures and walks of life. She is a Sociology major, and plans to pursue a career in student affairs/education. She can communicate in basic American Sign Language (ASL), and understands most variations of West African Pidgin English. Outside of work and school, Chaise finds joy in traveling, indulging in horror films, and adding to her lipstick collection.
ChenWei Guo was born in Beijing China. He has lived in many different places growing up as well as traveled to Europe and Asia. He came to the US in 2012 and is currently studying computer science and entrepreneurship at the U. His dream is to one day have his own consulting company to help more people feel good about themselves. During his spare time, Chen likes to have adventures like skydiving, skiing, horseback riding, and working with ISSS peer advisors. He also likes dancing and modern fashion. Oh, and French bulldogs!
Striving for a second Bachelor’s in Political Science and Arabic, Lacey currently works in the ISSS Office as peer advisor over their International Taiwan Institute Program. Lacey earned her first Bachelor in Interpersonal Communication at Weber State University in August 2013. During her time at Weber State she served on the Student Association as Head Start Chair and at the same time served as Leadership Vice President for Weber State’s LDS Student Association. Lacey has interned at Utah’s State Capitol with event planning/marketing and recently finished interning with Mia Love’s congressional campaign. She hopes to one day become a U.S. Ambassador in the Middle East. Lacey is most happy when around members of different cultures, and hopes she can help international students feel accepted as they study in the United States.
Marcos Maia is a Film & Media student from Brazil who started in 2013 as a student at the University of Utah. Marcos has been working at International Student & Scholar Services since 2015. He likes to work at the international office because he can meet new people and learn about new cultures. He can speak Portuguese, English and Spanish. When time permits, he enjoys road trips, traveling overseas, listening to music and going out with friends.
Andre is a Business Student from Brazil who joined the University of Utah in January
2017. Before coming to the USA, he served as a volunteer for two years in his home-country.
His aspiration is to prepare himself to go back home and help the people through social
projects and non-profit organizations.
His passion is to play the piano in settings such as classical solo or accompaniment of choirs.
When he is not working, Andre enjoys spending time with his family, studying, swimming and also reading books.
Hyoky is an international student from South Korea. She started her study at the U in 2015. She is currently a junior majoring in Finance at the David Eccles School of Business. She joined working at International Student and Scholar Services in April 2017. She likes working with international students and people from diverse cultures. She speaks Korean and interested in learning Chinese. In her free time, she loves watching drama, movie, and listening to music.
Laiyan Bawadeen is half Taiwanese and half Sri-Lankan. Before coming to Salt Lake City, she lived in Lebanon for 14 years, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Lebanese American University. She is currently doing her Master’s degree in the Clinical and Mental Health Counseling at the University of Utah. Laiyan started her graduate assistantship in our office in Spring 2017.Laiyan is fluent in Chinese, English and Arabic and is currently the President of the International Women’s Association at the University of Utah. During her free time, she likes to cook, bake, play video games and read various novels.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Nelly Quintanilla is a first generation graduate from San Diego State University. She is currently a Graduate Student at the University of Utah and is earning her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy with an emphasis on Student Affairs. Nelly joined our team in 2016 and serves as our current Graduate Assistant. She speaks fluent English and Spanish and enjoys meeting new people from all over the world. In the future, Nelly hopes to work as a Student Affairs Professional to continue working with students in Higher Education. Outside of work, Nelly loves to enjoy her free time singing, hiking, playing tennis, and binge watching shows on Netflix.