About

International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) Staff

Michael Elliott
Director, International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)

As Director of ISSS, Michael Elliott brings almost 25 years of experience in the field of international education. His areas of interest and research include international student and scholar success, leadership development, and strengths-based education.

Michael earned his PhD in leadership studies and his master’s degrees in both international studies and education. He is also a lecturer in the departments of Educational Policy and Leadership, Globalization Studies, and Undergraduate Studies. Michael presents at NAFSA conferences, co-authored "From Departing to Achieving: Keys to Success for International Students in U.S. Colleges and Universities," was a Fulbright Scholar-Administrator Japan award recipient, and taught high school science in Peace Corps Kenya.


Tara Evans
Associate Director, ISSS

Tara has been in the field of international education for 14 years. She earned her B.A. in Business from Life University in Marietta, Georgia. Tara earned her M.A. in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tara’s area of interest is campus internationalization.

Tara oversees new international student orientation and is responsible for our J-1 scholar community. She is a member of NAFSA and a graduate of the NAFSA Academy (Class 10). Tara is also a member of the Residency Appeals Committee. She serves as the Liaison for Community Standards and Academic Advising.


Patricia Tierney
Senior International Student Coordinator, ISSS

Tricia Tierney began at the University at Albany in 2014 an Administrative Coordinator and has been promoted to Senior International Student Coordinator. Her special responsibilities include the Freshman Success program and SEVIS coordination. Tricia earned her B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Le Moyne College (Syracuse, NY), including a study abroad experience at the University of Warwick (England). Her M.Ed. in Counseling and Educational Psychology is from SUNY Buffalo.

Tricia was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. She has spent twenty years in international education and student affairs.


Kayla O’Donnell
International Student Coordinator, ISSS

Kayla O’Donnell joined the University at Albany as an International Student Coordinator in August 2016. Kayla earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Global Studies from Binghamton University, SUNY (2013) and a master’s degree in the Humanities from the University of Chicago (2014). Prior to joining UAlbany, she worked in the Dean of Students Office and International Services office at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.

Kayla advises F-1 and J-1 students and coordinates the Academic Success Program for students seeking additional academic support. She is also a member of NAFSA.


Yi Zhou
Graduate Assistant, ISSS

Yi Zhou started to work as a Graduate Assistant in ISSS in January 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies in December, 2013, and a master’s degree in Social Work in May 2016 from UAlbany. Now she is pursuing her second master’s degree in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at University of Albany. She is the Board Secretary of Rainbow Access Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides health services and case management to LGBTQ population in the capital region, with a focus on transgender or gender non-conforming clients.

Yi runs the Friendship Partners Program and coordinates Flag Bearer Procession for the commencement. She also assists with administrative tasks in the office. Yi is from Ru Gao, Jiangsu, China, a well-known town of longevity.


Ignatius Stanis Santosh George Amalarethinam
Graduate Assistant, ISSS

Ignatius Stanis Santosh joined the University at Albany, SUNY as a graduate student studying Computer Science in August 2016. He earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Anna University, Chennai, India (May 2014). He has worked on project designs for start-ups in India, as a Soft Skills Trainer (August 2014), as a Senior Software Engineer with Capgemini, and a Business Consultant for General Electric - Health Care.

Ignatius designs the ISSS's Weekly Newsletters, assists with Orientation, and plans and schedules trips organized by ISSS. He also serves as an Assembly Representative for the Indian Student Organization in the GSA. Ignatius is a conceptual photographer and a writer.


Kenya Dominguez
Graduate Assistant, ISSS

Kenya Dominguez became a Graduate Assistant in June 2016. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling here at the University at Albany. She is also an Intern for (RSS) Rehabilitation Support Services in the Albany location, where she provides counseling services to a variety of different individuals who suffer from mental illnesses.

Kenya assists with planning the International Education week in the fall semester, the New Student Orientation Program, and the International Graduation Celebration.