Be the Best with Trainer Corps
“What I have been able to do and learn over the last three or four years in Trainer Corps has done more for me professionally than anything else I’ve done in the last 20 (years),” says Landes Holbrook from his office in the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University. An international security analyst and international educator, Holbrook is one of the nearly 300 NAFSA members who volunteer their talent, time, and expertise to participate in the Trainer Corps program.
Spanning diverse backgrounds and roles in international education, Trainer Corps members maintain and deliver NAFSA’s Core Education Program (CEP) workshops and curricula. With the numerous benefits they receive from the program, participants say it is one of the best ways to both grow professionally and give back to the association.
Connect and Network with Other Professionals
“It is an amazing opportunity to network in the field” and “work with people I have always respected,” says Melissa Zuroff, an international student adviser and communications manager at New York University’s Office of Global Services. Having joined Trainer Corps in 2012, she is completing her first three-year term as a member and has already served as the lead trainer—just one of many opportunities for involvement within Trainer Corps–for a CEP workshop at the 2013 NAFSA Region X Conference. She attributes her enthusiasm for taking on this responsibility to the encouragement and mentorship that occurs between colleagues within the program.
Holbrook, too, remembers the collaboration and discussion in the first Trainer Corps meeting he attended to be energizing and inspiring. “I realized then how much NAFSA can offer to its members. I made the decision at that moment to get involved and get a lot more active. I took to heart what the trainers suggested: really network and use us as a medium for progression.”
Build Relevant Skills and Gain Exposure to Recent Trends
Through various professional development opportunities, Trainer Corps members can strengthen and refine their training, public speaking, and leadership skills to apply them to positions within and outside of NAFSA, no matter the stage of their career.
According to Zuroff, Trainer Corps has also allowed her to keep her immigration skills sharp by working side-by-side with other international education professionals across the country, since it is often easy to become accustomed to the routines or procedures of a single office. Both Zuroff and Holbrook agree that the chance to learn from colleagues working at different institutions leads to improvements on their own campuses. “Trainer Corps helped me come back to my university to be more effective, help establish policy, and fill in gaps in what we do here,” explains Holbrook.
Open Doors to New Opportunities
Trainer Corps is a gateway to new professional experiences. The presentation, public speaking, and training skills Zuroff took back to NYU led to her participation in an intercultural training and additional professional development on her own campus. For Holbrook, the full potential of Trainer Corps membership was realized when he was asked to join the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) because of the reputation he established as a lead trainer.
With the deadline for this year’s intake of new Trainer Corps members fast approaching, what would Holbrook’s final words of encouragement be to anyone interested in applying? “My simple message is do it. And jump in with both feet because you can’t fail. There will be people to support you and lift you up to success.”
Trainer Corps new and renewing member applications are due by February 3, 2014. Learn more about the program and application process at nafsa.org/trainercorps. Submit application forms or request further information at [email protected].