An International Student Services & Activities (ISSA) Publication April 2011


Robyn Centilli Receives Terrence Akai Award


obyn Centilli, career counselor at the University of Notre Dame, is the recipient of the 2011 Terrence Akai Award for Exceptional Service to International Students. The Terrence Akai Award, which is presented annually by International Student Services & Activities (ISSA), recognizes a Notre Dame faculty or staff member who provides exceptional support to the international student community. International students nominate rom March 25 through April 2, faculty and staff members for this Notre Dame students, faculty, award. and staff celebrated international heritage and culture during “We are pleased to present the International Festival Week (IFW) 2011 Terrence Akai Award to Robyn 2011. International Student Services Centilli,” Bethany Burgun, Director & Activities (ISSA) has hosted IFW of ISSA, said. “Robyn has gone above at the University of Notre Dame for and beyond to support international more than 40 years. students throughout their career search, including helping them to IFW 2011 kicked-off with the Asian find internships and employment Film Festival and Conference, which both before and after graduation.” showcased recent animated films


IFW 2011: A Sweet World
sale of Nepalese handicrafts. On Saturday, April 2, children of all ages made international arts and crafts, got their faces painted and played games at the University Village Community Center.

In addition to providing career advising services for international students, Centilli provides career counseling to undergraduate and graduate engineering and science majors. Centilli also leads The Career Center’s International Committee, which develops programs to help international students search for employment opportunities within the United States and abroad. Continued on page 2

Other International Festival Week events included an international breakfast, Spanish Mass, red-hot chili pepper eating contest, International Street Food Festival, and tour of from Japan, as well as paid tribute the Snite Museum of Art’s Mesoto internationally acclaimed director American exhibits. Satoshi Kon, who passed away in 2010. IFW 2011 was presented by International Student Services & On Tuesday, March 29, more than 200 Activities (ISSA) and co-sponsored people attended the International by The Career Center, DeBartolo Festival: A Sweet World, to sample Performing Arts Center, Fischer desserts from around the world. In O’Hara-Grace Graduate Residences addition to indulging on sweet treats, (FOG), Kellogg Institute for attendees participated in various International Studies, La Alianza, international activities, including Snite Museum of Art, and University henna, a Japanese tea ceremony, and Village and Cripe Street Apartments.


Homeless, Not Hopeless W
hile most people were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, six Notre Dame students spent the day volunteering at the South Bend Center for the Homeless. This field trip, which was coordinated by ISSA, marked the first time that many of these students had directly experienced homelessness in the United States. “The poverty in the U.S. and China are definitely so different!” Ning Jia, a graduate student from China, said. “In the city where I’m from, there are also people asking for money and sleeping on the street. They literally have nothing: no car, no Medicare, etc…Now I know there is poverty in the States too…. I feel it’s really awesome to see the Center is not only providing a place for these people to stay, but also trying to help them to get back on their own!” The six Notre Dame students began the day learning about the Center’s programs as well as homelessness

in the United States. According to the Center for the Homeless, there are more than 700 homeless men, women, and children in South Bend. After the orientation, the students helped sort donations and prepared and served lunch for the Center’s residents. “The most surprising thing was knowing how [the Center for the Homeless is] able to provide emotional support and ‘reconnect people’ who have been through such an immense life transformation,” Dhiraj Pant, a graduate student from Nepal, said. “It was also striking to hear when one of their guests said ‘homeless does not mean hopeless.’” If you’re interested in volunteering at the Center for the Homeless, please email Peter Lombardo, Director for Community Involvement, at

Akai Award

Continued from page 1

“Robyn devotes a lot of time to collecting information regarding careers for international students,” said Yichao Pan, an undergraduate student from China who nominated Centilli for the award. “It is very difficult for international students to land a full-time job or internship in the U.S., but Robyn’s work is very helpful.” Centilli, a graduate of Indiana University South Bend, began working at The Career Center in 2009. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Centilli worked as an admissions counselor at Bethel College. Centilli currently lives with her husband and three daughters in Osceola.

ISSA created the Terrence Akai Award for Exceptional Service to International Students in 2010 to honor faculty and staff members who exemplify the qualities of the late Terrence “Terry” Akai, a beloved faculty


member, dean and long-time advocate for international students. A native of Guyana, South America, Dr. Akai joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1976 as a research associate in aerospace and mechanical engineering. Dr. Akai held appointments in a variety of departments and Robyn Centilli taught 15 courses during his career. In 1994, Terry was appointed to assistant dean of the Graduate School and later served as senior associate dean until his death in 2009.

any of you have probably heard of the famous track “Kaa kaa kaa kaat-manduuu” by Bob Seger. It also happens to be the place I hail from, the capital of Nepal. We are a tiny nation sandwiched between two giants: India and China. Nepal is known for her majestic inheritance of the scenic mountains in the Himalayan range and houses the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, which is 8848 m above sea level. What is not so obvious though, is that according to Guinness World Records, we have the shortest man alive, measuring just 67 cm.


Student Spotlight:
me here, however, was the University’s philosophy on ‘unique spirit’ and being open to change. In particular, the development of the new economics program that provides training on policy-relevant research.

Dhiraj Pant, Nepal

I am Dhiraj Pant, a graduate student in the Department of Economics. Back in college, I used to hear a lot about Notre Dame’s tradition, culture and values from my professors, friends and media. What really got

Overall, the college experience has been more than fruitful and I am looking forward to more great experiences in my remaining years here at Notre Dame. Go Irish!

Apart from missing home, friends, food and weather, the most challenging aspect for me has been adjusting to a graduate student lifestyle. Given the demanding workload, I have little time to meet new people or to be involved in extracurricular activities. However, with the help of programs coordinated by offices like ISSA, I am able to balance my work and social life.

ISSA Staff Member Elected to NAFSA Trainer Corps


am Lockhart, international student advisor for ISSA’s Immigration Services Office (ISO), has been elected to the NAFSA Trainer Corps. NAFSA is the world’s largest nonprofit professional organization dedicated to international education. As a member of the Trainer Corps, Lockhart, who has served as the NAFSA Region VI Regulatory Ombudsperson for the past four years, will conduct professional development workshops from the Core Education Program (CEP) curriculum at NAFSA’s regional and annual conferences. The CEP consists of four, eight, or 12-hour workshops ranging in topic from “F-1 Student Advising for Beginners” to 3

“Campus and Community Programming.” To become an authorized trainer for the NAFSA Trainer Corps, Lockhart will participate in an orientation via webcast as well as a full-day workshop at the NAFSA Annual Conference in Vancouver, Canada in May. The NAFSA Trainer Corps is a three-year volunteer commitment.
Sam Lockhart

Travel Signature Reminder


f an F-1 or J-1 student or their dependents travel outside of the United States, they will need a valid travel signature from the Immigration Services Office (ISO) to reenter the country. Travel signatures are valid for 12 months. Students should request a travel signature from the ISO at least one week prior to their departure from the United States. Students can fill out travel signature requests online at: immigration/request-forms-for-current-students/. After completing the online request form, a student must also bring his or her current, original I-20 or DS-

Apply for OPT!

2019, I-94 card, passport, and visa to the ISO (121 Main Building) to complete the travel signature request.

April Events
Friday, April 1: Latin Expressions 2011 Orígenes: Regresando a Nuestras Raíces Saturday, April 2: International Children’s Festival Wednesday, April 6: Life After OPT Thursday, April 7: CPT Information Session Wednesday, April 13 International Ambassador Banquet Thursday, April 14: Immigration Question & Answer (Q & A) Session Friday, April 15: International Alumni Reception (for graduating students) Tuesday, April 19: OPT Information Session Wednesday, April 20: CPT Information Session Job Searching for International Undergraduates Panel Discussion

March Photos

PT allows F-1 students to engage in temporary employment directly related to their majors. Students may be eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT. Students are not required to have a job offer to apply! For more information, please contact the Immigration Services Office (ISO) at or visit



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