Eastern New Mexico University has Greyhounds across the globe, from domestic students choosing to study abroad to international students venturing to Portales, New Mexico, or taking part in the University's online programs. Dr. Mei Reeder, the new international advisor and recruiter for the International Programs Office (IPO), is looking to expand ENMU's global presence even further.
"I hope to do more in international recruitment and visit overseas universities, so I have a better understanding as to what school to recommend students to attend for short-term study abroad programs," Dr. Reeder shares. "Overall, I'd like to expand the office and train new staff so we can serve more students."
The advisor is off to a great start, serving as a liaison to ENMU departments and outside agencies on issues related to international students and study abroad participants. She will be providing workshops such as Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and plans to host study abroad fairs in the spring. Students are welcome to volunteer for these events and share their own experiences.
When asked how international students can utilize the International Programs Office, Dr. Reeder responds, "We have insurance information when they need to compare different companies to get the best deal; we offer employment advising (on- and off-campus); we get to refer them to partake activities the Multicultural Center has to offer on-campus; anything that involves their status in the USA or visa, they can make an appointment to come and see me; students who have admission questions or know someone who wants to attend ENMU can ask our office; and more. They are also able to apply to work in our office a few hours a week."
She adds, "I hope to see every student from overseas a few times each semester just so that I know they are doing fine, adjusting well to the new environment and culture, and that if they need help, don't hesitate to email, call or make an appointment to see me in the office. And, to remember, if they are going through difficult times or feeling depressed, they are not alone.
"I hope domestic students who are interested in study abroad can come see me so I can help them to study one semester at a university to experience a whole new world out there," she says.
Dr. Reeder's duties include serving as the Designated School Official (DSO) and the Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO), and maintaining the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). She makes sure that international students comply with policies from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
When student's applications come in, she evaluates their admission documents before sending them to the Office of Enrollment Services. "Anything that relates to international and domestic students, I am part of the process," she explains.
Dr. Reeder, who worked as a China program director for 11 years dealing with J1 and J2 and as a coordinator who dealt with F1 visa holders for a few years, was drawn to the international advisor and recruiter position at ENMU due to her passion for serving in the international education field.
"At my old job, serving international students and scholars were just a part of what I did, so when this position opened up at Eastern, I thought I needed to apply for it," she shares. "Now, I am involved in areas that involve all things international."
Her favorite part of her new role is getting to talk to students from different backgrounds and countries.
"To know them as a person, not just a name on the paper, is a wonderful thing," she explains. "I get to tackle all kinds of non-immigrant issues the students have or incurred; I learned a lot from them, good and bad. Also, I am able to assist domestic students who want to go to different countries to study for one semester. Overall, I serve and help students as a whole, not just from overseas."
She has had a positive experience at ENMU so far: "It's a beautiful campus with a very impressive layout. The students are very polite, and my colleagues are very kind and helpful! It's a very different culture here compared to Wisconsin, where my family and I have lived the last 20 years."
Dr. Reeder grew up in Taiwan, where her mother still lives. She has an older brother, who is married with one daughter. "I am married to a wonderful man, and we have two sons, one is pursuing aerospace engineering studies in California, and one is in seventh grade. We also have a Shelties, Mocha. He's very friendly and loves barking, a lot," shares the ENMU recruiter, who graduated with a bachelor's in business administration and management from the University of Central Missouri (where she worked as a student tutor for two years), took 18 hours in ESL, obtained a master's in adult education from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and received a Doctor of Education from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.
She served as a language school manager in her early 20s after graduating from college in Taiwan, then worked as a marketing associate at an international manufacturer. She also served as a translator and interpreter, taught Chinese at an elementary school and was a substitute teacher before working as a China program director in Wisconsin.
Dr. Reeder was recognized at the Outstanding Women of Color Awards from the University of Wisconsin System a few years ago. The award was established to honor women of color who contribute to their campus and community via the work they do in social, research and relationship building with students, faculty and staff.
When asked who has served as her role model, Dr. Reeder shares, "My late father who passed over 15 years ago. I learned from him what good work ethic is. He's the most loving and kind person I know growing up. I miss him a lot."
She previously volunteered as an interpreter for the hospital, school and county she lived in, and is looking for opportunities to help out in the Portales area.
Her hobbies include jogging on treadmills and watching cooking shows at the same time, but she has devoted her free time to learning more about work and taking care of her younger son. "I like to cook, but at the current small apartment, there is not much counter space for me to prepare food," she adds.
Dr. Reeder's favorite place she has traveled is Cancun, Mexico, since it is "exotic and multicultural. Anywhere that has a sunny beach and a rich cultural background is a favorite place of mine."
A fun fact about Dr. Reeder is that she "can never understand the rules of football."