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International Student Advisory Board

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The International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) represents the voices of international students and advocates for the quality of life and success of the international student community at Old Dominion University. ISAB commits to engage and work closely with the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR) and other university departments: to provide constructive feedback for improving current programs and services and to offer recommendations for new initiatives.


  • Serve as an accessible and visible resource for the international student community.
  • Create a supportive intercultural community among inernational and domestic students.
  • Provide information about international students' concerns to Old Dominion University administration.
  • Encourage leadership skills through discussions, collecting feedback, and advocating for the needs and increased visibility of the internatioal student community on the campus.

ISAB Sub-committee

  • Academic Performance Committee:

    This committee focuses on issues pertaining to the academic experience, performance, and success of international students. Issues may include career management, and developing informational materials for students and faculty members/advisors.

  • Housing and Public Safety Committee:

    This committee analyzes issues pertinent to the international student community and makes recommendations regarding international students' concerns with on-campus and off-campus housing, as well as public safety.

  • Student Life and Cultural Integration Committee:

    This committee examines issues involving international students' life, experience and engagement at ODU. The committee also establishes a close relationship with international student organizations as well as other student organizations which may be interested in reaching out to the international student community. Issues may include international mentorship programs and orientation programs.

  • Administrative and Financial Concerns Committee:

    This committee focuses on international students' concerns related to finances and/or their experiences with administrative processes on-campus. Issues may include immigration regulations awareness and health insurance services.

  • Public Relations Committee:

    This committee manages public relations and decides whether or not to convene at least one open forum during the fall semester to discuss issues within the international community and to seek international students' input, concerns, etc. This committee works with faculty advisors and GAs to receive international students' concerns and feedback. This committee also provides information to OIR to update the ISAB website throughout the academic year.

Why Join?

  • Help shape the international student experience at the University.
  • Gain leadership skills through advising and mentoring.
  • Enhance public speaking and intercultural communication skills.
  • Build relationships with international students, faculty and staff on campus.
  • Create a stronger international presence at Old Dominion University.

How To Apply

  • Submit an application.
  • The applicants will be interviewed, and the board members will be selected.
  • Regular attendence and active participation in events is required.

Application Process

Students who meet one of the following requirements may apply to serve on the ISAB:

  • International undergraduate students who have accomplished at least two academic semesters with a minimum of 3.0 GPA.
  • International graduate students who maintain a minimum of a 3.5 GPA.
  • The online application process and ISAB information are accessible through the following URL: http://www.odu.edu/life/gettinginvolved/leadership/isab.
  • The Faculty Advisor, President, Vice President, and Board members will conduct a group interview with applicants. At the very least, the President or Vice President and two Board members shall be present during the interviews and provide recommendations for the selection. The faculty advisor serves as an ex-official member at the interview. An interview shall be scheduled within 2 weeks after the receipt of a new application.
  • Faculty advisors may encourage qualified students to apply to serve on the ISAB.

ISAB 2021-2022 Members

Gyanendra Kharel

Gyanendra Kharel


  • Country of Origin: Nepal
  • Program of Study: Ph.D. in Chemistry

"Besides developing my leadership skills, ISAB has provided me a platform to teach me the value of teamwork and lets me give back to the international community."

Jem Baldisimo

Jem Baldisimo

Vice President

  • Country of Origin: Philippines
  • Program of Study: Ph.D. in Ecological Sciences

"Being in ISAB allows me to be connected and engaged in creating positive change in the lives of international students in ODU."

Ren Neasha Blake

Ren-Neasha Blake

Vice President

  • Country of Origin: Jamaica
  • Program of Study: Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy

"I am passionate about serving; being an ISAB member gives me the opportunity to connect with, and advocate for fellow international students at ODU. ISAB provides the ideal platform to not only hear students' concerns, but to assist in addressing them. You just never know when your actions will put a smile on someone's face and that is fulfilling."

Elaheh Saffari

Academic Performance & Success
  • Country of Origin: Iran
  • Program of Study: Ph.D. in Business Administration - Marketing

"Being in ISAB gives me the opportunity to make the lives of international students better and easier."

Faegheh Taheran

Faegheh Taheran

Public Affairs

  • Country of Origin: Iran
  • Program of Study: Phd in Business Administration - Marketing

"I tried all my life to be a giver, not a taker. Being a member of ISAB, for me, is a reflection of being that giver. It allows me to help other international students to have a different life while helping myself to be a different person. And that's what I believe to lead to a different world. Moreover, the world is a huge place, ISAB is an opportunity to be connected to all around the world. How? By finding friends from all around the world!"

Mauricio Gonzalez Diaz

Mauricio González Díaz

Administrative & Financial Concerns

  • Country of Origin: Chile
  • Program of Study: Master of Science in Ocean & Earth Sciences

"My main interest is to work as a link between the international students' voices and the services that ODU offers. In this way, I want to help students to have a smoother transition into this new life in a new university and a new country."

Sabrina Boisvert

Sabrina Boisvert

Administrative & Financial Concerns/Global Monarch Club Representative

  • Country of Origin: Canada
  • Program of Study: Master in Business Administration

"Being part of ISAB allows me to connect with international students, advocate for a positive change, and create a stronger community. I am always looking forward to meeting new people and learning about new cultures. Either you have a problem or you just want to talk, my 'door' is always open!"

Sama Ashouri

Sama Ashouri

Student Life & Cultural Integration/Persian Students Association Representative

  • Country of Origin: Iran
  • Program of Study: PhD in Business Administration - Marketing

"I like to explore ODU and get to know different communities. As an international student I find ISAB a great place to share my ideas to help other students gain better experiences here. I hope I'll be able to add new perspectives and use my innovative thoughts to contribute to ISAB."

Shashika Wijerathne

Shashika Wijerathne

Housing & Public Safety/Sri Lankan Association Representative

  • Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
  • Program of Study: PhD in Physics

"In the ODU family tree, ISAB is one of the strong, active, fruitful branches. Being an ISAB member means becoming a bloomed flower in that branch, adding more beauty to ODU, as well as to myself."

Siavash Sattar

Siavash Sattar

Student life & Cultural Integration

  • Country of Origin: Iran
  • Program of Study: Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

"ISAB is a great place to be connected to the ODU community as an international student, try to improve it as a part of the community, and learn from the best."

ISAB Liaisons

Dheeraj Patlolla

Public Affairs

Faith Masibili

Public Affairs

Hameeullah Hassan

Academic Performance & Success

Ida Oesteraas

Housing and Public Safety

Ilse Westera

Housing and Public Safety

Omotomilola Jegede

Administration & Financial Concerns

Xi Li

Academic Performance & Success

Advisory Team

  • Dr. Rachawan Wongtrirat | Director for International Initiatives | Office of Intercultural Relations
  • Dr. Ying Thaviphoke | Department of Engineering Management & System Engineering | Batten College of Engineering & Technology
  • Mary Wilcox | Graduate Assistant for International Initiatives | Office of Intercultural Relations

International Student Success Advisory Council (ISSAC)

The International Student Success Advisory Council (ISSAC) is composed of ODU faculty and administrators who serve as an ally to ISAB. Faculty and staff members advise and support ISAB in their efforts to advocate for and contribute to the success of the University and the international student community.

  • Dr. Austin Agho | Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Don Stansberry I Vice President for Student Engagement & Enrollment Services
  • Dr. M'Hammed Abdous I Assistant Vice President for Teaching & Learning with Technology
  • Dr. Rachawan Wongtrirat | Associate Director for International Initiatives I Office of Intercultural Relations
  • Dr. Gulsah Kemer | Associate Professor of Counseling & Human Services I Darden College of Education and Professional Studies
  • Mrs. Lesa Clark | Executive Director for the Office of Intercultural Relations
  • Dr. Marina Saitgalina | Assistant Professor of Public Service I Strome College of Business
  • Dr. Regina Karp | Associate Professor of Political Science & Geography I College of Arts & Letters
  • Dr. Robert Wojtowicz | Vice Provost and Dean for the Graduate School
  • Dr. Zhongtang Ren | Senior Lecturer of World Languages & Cultures | College of Arts & Letters

Past ISAB Members