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Featured | Word from the Watercooler | Messages | ICYMI 
Student Success | Staff Updates

Niagara College International Staff Connect | June 2019

(Vol. 4, Issue 10)


Niagara College’s English for Academic Preparation (EAP) made a splash this spring as 90 students across 11 EAP classes signed up to celebrate EAP FUN Day on the waterway.

Each term, NC’s EAP FUN Day exposes students to many ways to work together as a team and practice their English language skills development in a non-academic environment.

“So many students came out to join their classmates and teachers on FUN Day,” commented EAP instructor, Martina Finnegan. “It truly shows their dedication and NC spirit, and I hope they attend again next semester!"

On June 5, students gained team building skills by learning how to dragon boat on the Welland Recreational Waterway and put their new flatwater sport skills to the test with a race at the end of the on the water sessions.

"We worked as a team when rowing the boat,” shared Daniela Mejia Huancahuari, who is originally from Peru and in her level 2A of NC’s EAP program. “It was a day of rain, but we had a good time!"

The day concluded with a friendly match of flag frisbee.

Word from the Watercooler

  • For the first time, NC is putting a team together for the 11th Big Move Cancer Ride on Sunday, September 8 and International’s Joanne Maltby is the NC team captain! Riders can register for the NC team and take part in one of the 25km, 50km or 75km rides, as well as the shorter family slow ride route. If you’re not sure what the ride entails and want to learn more, reach out to Joanne for more details
  • The City of St. Catharines Clean City Committee has appointed Jonathan Belgrave as the Chair. This means that Jonathan is now a voting member on the City's Environmental Sustainability Committee. Congratulations to Jonathan on his recent appointment.


A message from Sean Coote:

As part of the 2019/20 budget for the international division, there were a number of new full time complement positions approved. These approvals are in alignment with NC’s strategic goals, and are in recognition of our continued growth across the International Division. One of the approved positions will have a reorganization of our department, creating an additional management position, and moving our International Admissions and Inquiry Response Team under one new manager. The new Manager, International Admissions & Inquiry Response, will provide a better alignment between the admissions and inquiry teams as we continue to implement our new CRM (Salesforce), and work to advance

functionality in PeopleSoft. The position will be posted over the summer, with a late summer / early fall start.

With the addition of this position, Howard will continue to manage our international marketing, communications and recruitment as we continue to work on strategies that will increase our student diversity and quality over the coming years. Shawna will continue managing our international student services. During the transition, Howard will continue to lead the admissions team, and Shawna will continue to manage the inquiry response team.

I recognize that this change will likely have some questions, so please feel free to email me or drop into my office anytime.



Message from the School of English Language Studies:

Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating and welcoming Martina Finnegan in her new role as ESL Student Advisor. Martina’s support staff experience dealing with international students as Advanced Standing & Transfer Credit Officer, her knowledge and experience in teaching ESL, and her Master’s Degree in Adult Education - Motivation and Cultural Impacts, make her well equipped for the job.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my immense gratitude to Kelsey Queen Dobsi who was ESL Student Advisor for the last three years. Kelsey was very consistent in demonstrating exceptional communication and problem solving skills. With student success always her priority, Kelsey would actively listen to student concerns and develop creative solutions to help them overcome challenging obstacles.

Kelsey will be off on maternity leave for the next little while, but we are fortunate to have her returning as a full-time ESL professor in spring 2020.

I wish the best of luck to both Martina and Kelsey in their new positions.

Best, Guhan

New IRT Clerk:

Happy to announce that Rushali Biswas will be joining the IRT staring next Wednesday, June 26th. Rushali recently graduated from our Computer Programmer diploma and has worked for several terms as a Welland Campus Student Assistant.

Rushali has always been an eager member of our team and looks forward to continuing to support student success in her new part time role.

Please join me in welcoming her back!



International Finance Team:

Many exciting changes are happening with the structure of our finance team in services. Beginning July 2nd , our team will consist of:

Finance Coordinator, WC S107– Becky Sciliberto (Acting) – team coordination and task oversight, planning, process mapping, analysis, and auditing

Student Account Clerk, WC S100 – Liang (Jackie) Zhong – frontline student account processing and inquiry, current scholarships, debit report and payment plans

Student Account Clerk, NOTL W107 – Saddman Zaman – frontline student account processing and inquiry, insurance, contract training

Finance Clerk, WC S107 – Daniela Vilanova – incoming wire/electronic payment processing and support, refund account analysis and processing

Finance Clerk, WC S107 – Limei Xie – commission analysis, report creation, payment processing and inquiry*

*Saddman and Becky will continue to support the current commissions cycle through our training period

Limei Xie joins our team from accounting roles at Stratus Vineyards and Oast House Brewery. She holds a Math Education Degree from China and a Business Accounting Diploma from Niagara College and is excited to combine her passion for accounting and education at NC. Limei will begin on July 2nd.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to Akhil Nair for his roles with the finance, IRT, and Student Assistant teams.

Akhil’s last day will be June 28th and we wish him the very best.

Our new structure allows for greater cross training, process refinement, and analysis in regards to student and stakeholder accounts and processes.

If you have any questions about the roles, please do let me know.


Inquiry Response Team Coordinator:

I am pleased to announce that Nancy Pye is the successful candidate for the full time position of our full time IRT Coordinator. Nancy needs no introduction after spending more than 18 years with the college, mostly within the International Division. Nancy has also spent time working in Saudi Arabia and at our former Niagara Falls campus in coordinator positions. In her most recent role as the part time IRT Coordinator, Nancy has helped to grow the IRT into a vital resource for our department. I am excited to be working with Nancy and the IRT as we move forward and continue to strengthen our frontline response team.


We are pleased to announce that Fernando Gama de Oliveira has assumed the full-time role of Regional Manager, The Americas and Caribbean. Many of you know that Fernando has been working in this role since 2017 on a contract administrator basis and since that time, we have seen strong growth in the Americas regions, especially from Colombia, Brazil and Mexico but we have also seen the rise of new emerging countries such as Costa Rica, Honduras and Aruba further diversifying our student population. Fernando’s new role will now include strengthening our presence in the Caribbean alongside Geno Bullard, our local representative and manager in the Caribbean, as well as expanding our partnerships with language school partners, high schools and post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States. A graduate of Niagara’s Sales and Marketing programs, Fernando is an excellent example of how far our international students can go in a short time and he attributes much of his success, both academically and in his professional life, to the support he received from teachers, staff and colleagues here at NC. Join me in congratulating Fernando on his continued growth here at Niagara College and in the International Division.




(In Case You Missed it)
From doctor to chef: Brazilian student Luiz Ricardo de Andrade discovers his culinary passion
Order your 2019-20 NCSAC Student Handbooks Now
Riders: get your bikes tuned up and ready for the Big Move Cancer Ride
NC takes on gender equality project in Saint Lucia
NC's partnership with St. Lucia community college flourishes
Student reflections on spring Be World Ready trips to India and Germany
18th annual Niagara College Golf Classic
Rainbow flags fly over both campuses for pride month
Please direct all media inquiries and other external communications to International’s communications consultant, Julie Greco.  
Julie can be reached at 905-735-2211 x 7368, or via email

Student Success

“I became a Student Assistant (SA) because I always wanted to do something different in the College rather just attending classes and going home. Being a SA helped me in developing my

soft skills and my ability to communicate with people. For me, those 4 months of being an SA were the best four months at NC.”

*Student assistants are a pivotal part of the International Division family. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Acting as front-line response for information inquiries and directing clients to appropriate staff/ service;
  • Assisting during Orientation, campus tours, social events and activities; and
  • Aiding staff with various tasks (scanning, filing, appointment making;).

-Ronak Sigh Kohli
(Industrial Automation)
Hometown: New Delhi, India

Staff Updates

The NC International team is always growing! Additions (or moves) help Niagara College provide a greater level of support to our partners around the world and enhance our recruitment activities as well as strengthen our international partnerships.

Martina Finnegan - ESL Student Advisor

Nancy Pye - IRT Coordinator

Fernando Gama de Oliveira - Regional Manager, The Americas and Caribbean

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