Director, International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)
As ISSS director, Michael Elliott is at UAlbany with over 20 years of experience in the field of international education, His areas of interest and research include international student success and strengths-based education.
Michael has previously worked at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and the University of Denver. He is currently a candidate in the Leadership Studies program at North Carolina A&T State University. Michael holds his MA/MEd and BS degrees from Ohio University and The University of Colorado-Boulder respectively. Michael is active in NAFSA, the Fulbright Alumni Association, the Association of International Leadership and the Capital Region Rotary Club.
Associate Director, ISSS
Tara Evans has been advising international student and scholars since 2003. She enjoys working with international students and scholars, as no two days are the same! She’s a native New Yorker (Western NY), who earned her B.A. in Business from Life University in Marietta, Georgia. She earned her M.A. in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
In her spare time, Tara enjoys reading mystery and suspense novels by her favorite author, Mary Higgins Clark. She also enjoys watching movies, playing online games (Bingo Bash and Jewel Mania) and spending time with family.
Tara is a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the NAFSA Academy (Class 10). She lives in Guilderland with her husband and son.
Senior International Student Coordinator, ISSS
Patricia Tierney has been the Administrative Coordinator at the University at Albany since 2014. Originally from Albany, she has lived in several different places, including Ohio, New Jersey, and in Morocco as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Tricia earned a 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 spent fifteen years in international education and student affairs including working in the Study Abroad office at Skidmore College, serving as Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the Sage Colleges in Albany, serving as Director of International Student Services at the College of Wooster in Ohio and advising international students at the University at Buffalo.
She was delighted to then have the opportunity to spend time outside the workforce raising her three children. Tricia lives in Clifton Park and loves to take in all the activities the Capital District has to offer.
International Student Coordinator, ISSS
Annie Heavener has been advising international students at the University at Albany since 2004. Somewhat of a career student herself, she’s earned two B.S. degrees – one in Anthropology (1996) and one in History (2002) – and a M.Ed. in Higher Education – College Student Services, all from Grand Valley State University. Annie is currently pursuing her M.A. in History (part-time) at the University at Albany.
Always the non-traditional student, Annie took a break from her undergraduate studies and spent two years as a field archaeologist in southwestern Ukraine (1992-1994). Annie jokes that this was “when I got to dig up dead bodies for a living.”
When she’s not in the ISSS office, Annie is an avid reader and can usually be found wandering the aisles at Borders and Barnes & Noble. She is also a big movie goer – and prefers the weekend matinees (they’re less expensive and usually empty). And, finally, she is helplessly, hopelessly addicted to knitting. Seriously, folks, she needs a 12-step program for the yarn obsessed. But her students don’t complain – many have walked away with hand-knit hats, scarves or socks.
Annie lives in Schenectady, NY with her dog, Lucky.
International Student Coordinator, ISSS
Lindsay Wersebe joins us from the University at Albany Department of Residential Life after a year of being a Residence Director on Dutch Quad. Before coming to the University at Albany, Lindsay worked at Rensselaer Polytechnic University in Troy, NY as an Administrative Associate in the International Services for Students and Scholars Office. Lindsay earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Secondary Education, and a M.S.Ed from the College of Saint Rose in College Student Services Administration.
Lindsay loves to travel and has lived and worked in Australia and England. In Australia, Lindsay assisted with supervising 144 First-year students during their first semester studying abroad in Melbourne. In England, Lindsay lived at the London Girl Guide and Girl Scout World Centre as a resident volunteer. In her spare time, Lindsay loves to Crossfit, eat Chipotle and watch way too many TV shows.
Graduate Assistant, ISSS
Yi Zhou is from Ru Gao, Jiangsu, China, a well-known town of longevity. She originally came to SUNY-Albany as an exchange student in the summer of 2011. Having always wanted to make change in society, Yi was amazed by the Women’s Studies classes she took during the first semester. She decided to transfer to UAlbany and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies in December, 2013.
Yi started to work as a Graduate Assistant in ISSS in January 2014. Now she is pursuing her Master’s degrees in both Social Work and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at University of Albany. She is also the Vice President of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) and the Treasurer of UAlbany Triota: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Honor Society. During her spare time, she volunteers in non-profit organizations, such as Our Own Voices, Gender & Sexuality Resources Center, and Rui Cheng Tong Zhi (Chinese Lesbian Non-Profit Organization).
Yi is a big fan of karaoke. She also likes watching TV shows and eating delicious food.
Graduate Assistant, ISSS
Valerie Swenson began as a Graduate Assistant with International Student and Scholar Services in August 2015. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Policy Studies at the University at Albany. Valerie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Siena College. She is originally from Syracuse, NY and lives in Troy, NY.
During her undergraduate career Valerie studied abroad in Málaga, Spain and did service work in Belarus and the Dominican Republic. She loved her overseas experiences, and is glad to get to play a part in the experiences of international students studying here at UAlbany. Valerie is also the Graduate Advisor for the UAlbany Cultural Connections Club. Her interests include travel, Troy, coffee and Netflix.