e-Learning Seminar
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On March 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published the anticipated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) rule. The new rule has a significant impact on student advising and campus processes for STEM OPT applications.

What is this new rule? How is it different from the previous STEM OPT rule? How can designated school officials (DSOs), students, and employers prepare for this new rule that will go into effect on May 10, 2016. We’ll address these and other questions on the future of the STEM extension of OPT.

Join this live NAFSA e-Learning Seminar (formerly NAFSA Webinar Series) featuring Steve Springer, NAFSA’s Director of Regulatory Practice Liaison, along with expert international student and scholar advisers. Get the answers to your pressing questions. Gain practical insights on how to best prepare for advising students and scholars on these changes.


After attending this NAFSA e-Learning Seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Summarize and understand the new STEM OPT rule;
  • Identify implications and scenarios of the changes for their institution and programs;
  • Prepare their office and staff to provide new regulatory information to students and scholars;
  • Determine best practices to implement new processes on their campuses.

The content will be relevant to those working in international student services and career services.


Steve SpringerSteve Springer
NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Steve Springer is director of regulatory practice liaison for NAFSA, where he manages NAFSA's engagement with federal agencies concerning regulatory practice issues, among other duties. Prior to joining the NAFSA staff, Springer worked as an immigration attorney, representing higher education institutions and their faculty, staff, and students, and worked in-house managing immigration services for several major research universities. He is active in the American Immigration Lawyers Association, serving on its Students and Scholars Committee and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Transformation Committee. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Poland.

David C. ElwellDavid C. Elwell
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David C. Elwell currently serves as the associate dean for graduate education and director of the International Students Office (ISO) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT’s ISO serves more than 3,800 international undergraduate and graduate students from 122 countries. Prior to MIT, Elwell served as director of the International Students and Scholars Offices at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and as international student advisor and coordinator of admissions and records in the Office of International Services at Syracuse University. He has held both regional and national member-leader positions, most recently as chair of NAFSA’s International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee (ISS-RP). He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Clark University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish language, literature, and culture from Syracuse University.

Erin GustafsonErin Gustafson
Yale University

Erin Gustafson is a senior adviser at Yale University where she is responsible for both student and scholars services, as well as Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) coordinator duties. Prior to entering the field of international student and scholar services, Gustafson earned a degree in international relations at Southern Oregon University (SOU); studied abroad in Winchester, England; and served SOU as study abroad coordinator. She has served as the NAFSA Region XI representative for NAFSA’s Knowledge Community for International Student and Scholar Services (KCISSS) and was recently elected to the chair stream. In her role as KCISSS representative, Gustafson has provided on-demand immigration training based on needs expressed by the regional membership; lead conference sessions on current topics in the field; and represented Region XI at national meetings, conferences, and events.

Ashley JohnsonAshley Johnson
University of Georgia

Ashley Johnson is an international student and scholar advisor at the University of Georgia. Johnson previously served as an academic advisor for the international community at Clemson University. She has also served as secretary and treasurer for the Georgia Association of International Educators; led and participated in state and regional presentations and committees; and worked with NAFSA’s Grassroots Leadership Program cohorts in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.