The NAFSA family includes more than 10,000 international educators worldwide. Being a part of the NAFSA family means having a professional home where you can connect and collaborate with peers; expand and improve your skills and knowledge in the field; and help shape the future of global higher education. The four stories below highlight the moment when these members realized they had truly found their “home” in NAFSA.

University of Missouri-Columbia

Gabrielle Malfatti, Director of International and Intercultural Initiatives

"I can pinpoint two moments that turned NAFSA into 'home.' The first was my participation in the Academy, where I developed a close-knit group of friends who acted like family in a way. My coach, Jill Fischer, was fantastic at bringing us together, cheering us on, and pushing us to greater things. The second moment was serving on the Leadership Development Committee under Bob Erickson. This committee service showed me that I had the responsibility and the privilege to contribute to a profession that has filled my life with immense joy."

SUNY Global

Beverly Plowucha, International Student and Scholar Services Manager

"I think it has to be my first Region X Conference after returning to the field. There was just something about the regional conference that felt right to me–the people, the passion for the field, the energy… it was 'home.'"

Appalachian State University

Leah Newell, Interim Office of International Education and Development (OIED) Executive Director and Director of International Student Exchange and Study Abroad

"I felt comfortable at home in NAFSA from the first time I attended an annual conference in 1994 in Miami, Florida. I felt I was surrounded by like-minded people doing incredible things in a field I was only beginning to discover but knew I loved."

Linfield College

Sandy Soohoo-Refai, Associate Director of International Programs

"I felt right at home when I attended my first NAFSA Region I Conference in Eugene, Oregon in 1985. I had just begun my position as the International Programs Officer at my institution the previous year and didn't know much about the field of international education. Being at the conference made me realize that I was not alone. I quickly developed a network of colleagues and friends through my NAFSA connections, learned new skills, and built confidence."

Click a photo to learn more about how these members found their "home" in NAFSA and then share your story below.

When did you first feel you had found a professional home in NAFSA?

As our members continue sharing their stories, make NAFSA your own professional home through our benefits and opportunities for career growth and personal enrichment. Find out more at our membership page.

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