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ICFRC: Helping International Students Arrive & Thrive

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Grinnell College is a highly selective liberal arts college of 1700 undergraduates, located in Grinnell, Iowa. Nearly twenty percent of Grinnell's student body are non-U.S. citizens (350+ students from 60+ countries), ranking the school 11th among U.S. Baccalaureate Colleges for international student enrollment (IIE Open Doors) and 6th among National Liberal Arts Colleges for percentage of enrollment (U.S. News and World Report). Jon and Karen Edwards have been professional colleagues and partners, in admission and international student affairs respectively, for nearly 30 years. They talk about how their work has evolved; the valuable relationship between recruitment and retention; and current challenges and opportunities in their respective fields.

Karen Edwards, Dean of International Student Affairs at Grinnell College, has dedicated 30+ year to supporting international students. Since 2007, she has led Grinnell's Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) -- helping students navigate and find community in a new country; managing compliance with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP); and helping to create an international-student-friendly campus infrastructure. Karen is an active leader and presenter in NAFSA: Association of International Educators and co-founder of the ACM/GLCA Advisors Roundtable. She has traveled in 30+ countries across five continents, holds a MA in Higher Education from the University of Iowa, and a BA degree from Luther College.

Jon Edwards is Director of International Student Admission at Grinnell. He began his career in international education in 1995 and has 26 years of experience in the recruitment, evaluation, and selection of international applicants at highly selective liberal arts colleges. He has served as a member of the Council of International Schools' Committee for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, organizing and leading admission recruitment trips in those regions. Over the years, Jon has led or participated in dozens of presentations at professional conferences around the world. His work with students, schools, and community-based organizations has taken him to 93 countries and counting. Jon earned his MA in German from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his BA from Luther College.

For more information about the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, visit icfrc.org.

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