Participating in NAFSA regional or national conferences and events provides an opportunity to acquire and exchange information, and is also an excellent way to begin building a personal network of contacts in the field of international education. Our region is proud to offer opportunities to those seeking financial support that will allow them to become further involved in our region.

Conference Travel Scholarships

NAFSA Region VIII awards a limited number of scholarship awards to individuals wishing to attend our annual regional conference. Scholarships include free conference registration or lodging at the conference hotel. Scholarships are based on level of need, with preference being given to presenters and first-time attendees. The annual priority deadline to apply is September 1.  

Learn more and apply

Advocacy Day

NAFSA Advocacy Day is an annual opportunity to voice your support for international education and exchange while expanding your network and increasing your skill set. Advocacy Day takes place over two days and includes an integrated set of advocacy training and practice activities, anchored by a morning of visits to each member's congressional delegation on Capitol Hill.

NAFSA Advocacy Day | March 16-17, 2020 | Washington, D.C.

NAFSA Region VIII supports colleagues who wish to advance their professional development through attendance at the Advocacy Day by offering a travel scholarship to help defray the costs of attendance. The priority deadline for the Advocacy Day Travel Grant is February 7.

2019 Region VIII Advocacy Day Scholarship Recipients

Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn

Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn is the Coordinator of Education Abroad at Gallaudet University, the world's first and only university in the world designed for the deaf and hard of hearing. She is a NAFSA Academy graduate and has presented at NAFSA National, CCIS, and the CIEE Annual Conference. Becca holds a BA from Pomona College, an MA in International Affairs from American University's School of International Service, and an MPA from American University's School of Public Affairs. She was recently named the Diversity Abroad EDIIE Rising Star for 2019.

Why I'm Excited: As someone who represents a unique student population at Gallaudet, I'm excited to attend Advocacy Day and represent my students' needs when it comes to international education opportunities. Additionally, I feel that I can learn a lot from this opportunity, as my position will continue to require me to advocate for the right of deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind students to obtain full access to study abroad opportunities.

Patty Suppes

Patty Sagasti Suppes, who immigrated from Peru as a child, started her work with immigrant communities in the United States when, at the age of sixteen, she completed a training course on teaching English as a second language and proceeded to teach on a volunteer basis in evening programs through the Northern Virginia Literacy Council. She earned her Bachelor's from Sweet Briar College with majors in Spanish and French, and a minor in English. She then went on to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, working with rural communities to improve health and hygiene, focusing most of her work on the needs of women and children. After her service, she studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a Master's and a Ph.D. in Latin American literature. She is currently Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of International Programs at Ferrum College. Her recent research and writing has focused on ecofeminist works by contemporary Latin American and Spanish writers. She is also involved with movements to improve our immigration policies and help immigrants in the US, and in the summer of 2016 received a Jessie Ball duPont grant to participate in a three-week National Humanities Center seminar "Immigration and Citizenship in the United States" in Chapel Hill. Sagasti Suppes is currently active in the leadership of Roanoke Indivisible and the Blue Ridge Resistance Alliance of Virginia (BRRAVA). Her current research and ongoing projects involve all aspects of the internationalization of the campus and the celebration of diversity in the community.

Why I'm Excited: I am looking forward to working with a group of like-minded people to push for our legislators to support international education. It is essential to who we are as a nation and to the ideal of a free and fair society to actively promote diversity and inclusion in our institutions of higher education. Without an international perspective on our campuses, we would do our students a disservice. Students need a global perspective that can only come from living and learning in a culture different from their own, and from interacting here in the U.S. with students who have a different cultural background. It is essential that we impress upon our legislators that they need to support us in our efforts to broaden education to not only include, but to embrace the diversity of our world.

Gina Dreyer

Gina Dreyer has been working in international education for 12 years. She serves as an international scholar and student adviser at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, advising F-1 & J-1 students, J-1 scholars, and H-1B employees. Gina has her master's of arts in instructional systems development, and is responsible for training students, scholars, and university stakeholders on maintaining non-immigrant status and following university procedures for submitting visa sponsorship requests.

Why I'm Excited: I am excited to attend Advocacy Day and learn how to effectively communicate to my congressional representatives.

Jessica MacMartin

Jessica MacMartin is a Pre-Arrival International Student Adviser at The Pennsylvania State University. She focuses her time and efforts on prospective and newly admitted international students. In her spare time, she is training to run a half marathon and enjoys cooking, reading, and crafting.

Why I'm Excited: As an individual that has recently joined the field of International Education, I am thrilled about the opportunity to advocate on behalf of international students. I completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees at universities that attract diverse student bodies, which led to enriched experiences, captivating discussions, and a broadened world view. I feel compelled to ensure that my United States government representatives understand the importance and profound impacts that international students make by coming to the U.S. to study and complete research. If the U.S. is going to remain a top destination for education, we need to make sure that our policies and regulations are welcoming to the best and the brightest.

Kwaku Addae-Ankrah

Kwaku Addae-Ankrah, originally from Ghana, is a graduate student of economics at University of Delaware. He works as a graduate assistant with the University of Delaware’s Office for International Students & Scholars (OISS). His interest lies in using statistical tools to analyse survey data on international students in higher education and to generate reports for managerial decision making. He works with the OISS research team.

Why I'm ExcitedI am excited about Advocacy Day because it will afford me the opportunity to learn about NAFSA and what it does while connecting me with others who are ahead of me in the field of higher education. Working with UD’s international students’ office has opened my eyes to many issues in international higher education and the challenges faced by foreign students, their families and both domestic and international professors in the classroom and I look forward to joining others to advocate for them.

Noelle Baldwin

Noelle Baldwin is the Mid-Atlantic College Relations Manager for the Institute for the Education of Students Abroad (IES Abroad), one of the nation’s premier study abroad nonprofit organizations. A South Florida transplant, by way of New York, Noelle earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Education from the University of Miami. Noelle transitioned from her Alma Mater, where she also perused her Masters in Community and Social Change to the busy capital of Washington D.C. where she now resides. With her passion for intercultural exchange, coupled with 10 years of experience in higher education, Noelle values international education and works to ensure all communities have equal access. She studied abroad in South Africa and her career has taken her to countries across Europe, the Caribbean and South Asia. Foer her, international education is not just a career it is a life long journey to discover new ideas, new people and a deeper understanding of our world.

Why I'm ExcitedI am excited to represent my community of international educators who strive daily to create a deeper sense of global citizenship and to advocate for policies that support students, scholars, and those dedicated to making our world better, one student at a time. I am excited to do my part to advocate for policies that support our diverse students and scholars who work daily to make our world a better place!

Kati Von Lehman

Kati Von Lehman has been working in higher education for the past 20 years and in international education for the past 10. In my current position at the University of Pittsburgh, I manage our database and communications. I have a Masters degree in Public Policy Administration and I am an active community volunteer having served in several local community positions. In my personal life, I love to take family road trips (13 national parks in 2018!) and attending arts festivals as evidenced by the festival posters adorning my home and office walls.

Why I'm Excited:I am very interested in learning how the public can interact in different ways with our elected officials. I can’t wait for the NAFSA training to make the most out of this experience, which I feel will not only allow me to effectively advocate for international education and visitors, but also apply to a variety of other important issues that are significant to me and my community. Finally, I am excited to meet with my representatives to speak for my students, scholars, and institution.