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Meet Our Staff

From registration to graduation, we'll support you!

The International Programs staff is dedicated to giving our International Students every opportunity to reach their goals at TCC. Warm, friendly and highly trained in working with international students, we'll help you with paperwork, class selection, social and cultural issues, and be a friend and advocate for your success.

Questions?

Give us a call, send an email, or just stop by to see us. We're looking forward to speaking with you soon!

International Programs Office
Bldg. 11, 2nd floor
Phone/Fax 253.566.5190
Email: international@tacomacc.edu

How will we help you? Any way we can!

  • 5 full-time staff, including immigration advisor and academic advisor.
  • Personally oversee your housing arrangements.
  • Languages spoken: Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, Portugese and Dutch.
  • Plan fun and useful orientation activities and events throughout the year.
  • Give you a place to visit, hang out, and talk through your experience in our comfy, spacious offices.

Meet the ISS Staff

JamesJames Newman

Director for International Programs & DSO

As Program Director for International Recruitment since 2009, James emphasized short-term international training and degree programs. The high school completion program he developed and implemented led to a dramatic increase in Chinese student enrollment.

James holds a Master of Project Management, obtained from Keller Graduate School, and a Master of Business Administration from the New York Institute of Technology. He lived in China for 7 years, attended Beijing's Language and Culture University, and is fluent in Mandarin.


LauraLaura Koval

Assistant Director of Advising and Study Abroad & DSO

Laura spends her days advising international students and developing strategies for student engagement within the international department. She is also our study abroad advisor for resident students. Laura understands the importance of an international education since she herself lived overseas in Lagos, Nigeria throughout her elementary school years. Her international experience also includes backpacking through South East Asia and South America, as well as traveling to over 20 different countries.

Laura was also part of the TCC's women’s basketball coaching staff. As a local product of Tacoma, Laura spent 4 years at Stadium High School and continued her education, while playing basketball, at Whatcom Community College. Laura played one year at George Fox University before transferring to the University of Puget Sound to complete her college basketball career. Laura holds a teacher’s certificate that is highly qualified in mathematics and a master’s degree in secondary education.


NamiNamiko Bagirimvano

Manager for International Housing & Short Term Programs

Nami earned her undergraduate degree in Japan and worked for an airline company prior to pursuing her MA in International Education at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT.  After graduation in 2009, she joined the University of Arkansas as a programming, housing and retention specialist. Nami just moved to Tacoma from Arkansas the end of July with her two adorable daughters and husband. Nami is looking forward to contributing to the mission of TCC and our campus internationalization efforts.


AlexaAlexa Mercado-Curtis

Admissions Specialist & DSO

Alexa processes international student admissions and leads international short-term programs. She has over three years of experience in Student Life and International Student Services & Programs at TCC and understands the diverse groups that the college serves. While working with students on a daily basis, she seeks to improve their experiences before, during, and after their studies at TCC.

Alexa’s father’s military service brought her to Tacoma in 1992, where she has lived ever since. She was educated through the Tacoma Public Schools system and graduated from Wilson High School in 2009. She is a graduate of TCC and is currently earning her Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic, Gender & Labor Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. Alexa has made multiple visits to the Philippines, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. She hopes to continue broadening her knowledge of cultures through world travel and interactions with the students that she enjoys serving every day.


Penda Ndeye Penda Sow

International Student Navigator & DSO

Penda was born and raised in Dakar, Senegal and moved to the U.S. at 13.  She is fluent in French, Spanish, and Wolof. Penda graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a double minor in Spanish and Diversity in Higher Education. She is currently working on her M.S in Higher Education leadership. Penda has a strong background in international student advising and recruitment.  Her mission in life is to change lives one day at a time through education.


JonJon Maes

Part-Time Recruiter (all regions exept China)

Jon joins the International Student Services team with a strong background in international education and student services. He lived in South East Asia and South Korea for over eight years working as a program manager, education administrator, ESL instructor, curriculum developer, and overseas study advisor. Jon also brings six years of sales & marketing experience to TCC including student recruitment, public speaking and branding activities. Jon’s travels have taken him around the globe to over 30 countries on four continents. Currently, he is studying abroad in Europe for a joint master's degree in higher education. He speaks Korean and has basic knowledge of Indonesian, Spanish, and German.


Emily SheaEmily Shea

Part-time Recruiter for China

 

 

 

 


Hai DoanHai Doan

Part-time Recruiter for Vietnam

As a TCC alumnus, Hai enjoys connecting with prospective students from Vietnam and assisting them to attend Tacoma Community College. He loves sharing his stories and tips on how to be successful at an American college. Coming to Washington in 2005 as an international student, Hai successfully completed the 2+2 program in which he earned his Associate Degree in Business from Tacoma Community College and then received his Bachelor Degree in Marketing from Pacific Lutheran University. 

Hai enriched his experience with Tacoma Community College through different roles and activities. He used to be the International Office Assistant and the President of International Student Organization at TCC. Hai was involved in various activities at the college: coordinated orientation week to welcome new international students, led the short-term program for students from Egypt, organized trips and activities for international students, and volunteered for Student Life. During his student career at Tacoma Community College, Hai received the Outstanding Student Award from TCC International Program in 2006 and was nominated for the Ellen Pinto Outstanding Student Award in 2007.


IsabellaIsabella Webb

Short-Term Programs Coordinator

Isabella was born and raised in Australia and always knew she wanted to travel and see the world. She began her journey by studying for her undergraduate degree in both Hawaii and North Carolina. After graduating she worked with the Education Channel in Florida. She attended Graduate School first in Italy and then New York. Isabella lived in Italy for two years and while there she worked with American Students and led them on educational tours from Rome to Paris to London.

Isabella began her career with community colleges as an Academic Transfer Advisor in Florida and after continuing her journey to the Northwest she worked with both the University of Washington and Tacoma Community College. She has been organizing TCC's Short-Term Programs in the summer and winter quarters since 2012 and often thinks she has the best job in the world.

Her motto? A smile is with a thousand words. 


Front Desk Staff

We currently have several part-time student staff members working in the International office: Iulia from Moldova, Grace from Vietnam, Lena from South Korea and Ken from China. They will be greeting you in the mornings and afternoons and can help you make appointments with staff.

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