August 9, 2024
10:00AM - 4:00PM CST

International Student Services Committee Annual Mini-Conference

Charting Your Course: Career Navigation for International Students in a Changing Landscape


In an ever-evolving landscape where opportunities and challenges intersect for international students, this conference aims to serve as a beacon for those dedicated to supporting the career aspirations of international students.

All sessions of this mini-conference are open to all members of NCDA! 

Conference Theme: Charting Your Course: Career Navigation for International Students in a Changing Landscape

In the current global scenario, international students face a myriad of career development challenges, stemming from various socio-economic, political, and cultural factors. In the current era of mass layoffs and immigration-related challenges, international students continue to show commitment to international education in the US. However, they also grapple with high expectations and limited options, navigating the disparity between promised program outcomes and actual opportunities within the US. Recent layoffs and economic uncertainty highlight the need for adaptable career strategies. How can we equip international students, especially those in STEM, to navigate this changing landscape?

The post-pandemic landscape further complicates matters, with increasing enrollment for international students and shifts in employment prospects. As we navigate the dynamic landscape of career development, the role of artificial intelligence (AI) emerges both as an opportunity and a challenge. The disruption created by AI can help shape career paths, presenting new avenues for exploration while simultaneously posing questions about job market dynamics and the evolving nature of work. How will Artificial Intelligence impact job markets and career options for international students, particularly in STEM fields? Are we preparing them with the necessary skills to thrive alongside AI, or will it pose a significant challenge? Navigating complex visa and immigration regulations is often one of the foremost challenges for international students. Changes in policies, such as the U.S. H1B lottery system, can significantly impact their ability to secure employment post-graduation, leading to uncertainty and stress. This along with increased competition from nations like Canada, the UK, and Australia through international-friendly immigration policies also highlight the need for strategic career planning and advocacy for similar policies here in the U.S. Moreover, the pandemic has left its mark on socialization and interaction, presenting unique challenges for the current cohort of international students. As many US universities strive to diversify their international enrollment away from Asia owing to emerging geopolitics, particularly in STEM fields, new opportunities and considerations emerge, necessitating proactive mentorship and support for students who may be left without support. While universities continue to seek to increase international enrollment to address funding shortfalls, how can we ensure there are adequate resources and mentorship opportunities for these students, particularly within Higher Education and Student Affairs fields where international representation is lacking?

The lack of representation and mentorship within higher education and student affairs can pose a significant barrier for international students underscoring the importance of advocacy and allyship for international students. As career development professionals, we are responsible for guiding international students through the process of career exploration, decision-making, and planning to capitalize on global opportunities and mobility opportunities. We invite all career development professionals to share their perspectives, expertise, research, and best practice examples to think and discuss together how we can help international students navigate global opportunities and chart their course in a changing landscape. 

Mini-Conference Agenda:

  • 10:00-10:15 am - Opening Remarks by the ISSC Virtual Mini-Conference Coordinator - Dr. Pankaj Desai
  • 10:15-11:00 am - Promoting Well-being And Mental Health Through Culturally Responsive Career Development Support - Dr. Elif Balin, Ozge Girit Heck, and Lena Jackson
  • 11:00-11:15 am – ISSC Membership Chat Opening Remarks - ISSC Co-Chairs - Ellen Goldman & Kelly Woods
  • 11:15-12:00 pm - Experiences with Independent Practice - Jim Peacock & Kwan Segal
  • 1:00-1:45 pm - AI-Driven Career Support: Enhancing Document Quality and Job Search Strategies for International Students -  Dr. Tammison Smith, Un Yeong Park, and Madina Akhmetova
  • 2:00-2:45 pm - Advanced work authorization/visa/immigration & critical updates | Alternative Pathways to Immigration (O1/2 visa) -  Aaron Blumberg
  • 3:00-3:45 pm - Non-Linear Paths: Fostering Career Resilience in International Students - Ariadne “Addie” Cheng
  • 3:45-4:00 pm – Closing Remarks from ISSC Co-Chairs - Ellen Goldman & Kelly Woods


If you have questions, please reach out to the Chair of the Mini-Conference Planning Team, Dr. Pankaj Desai at


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