Mission Statement

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is dedicated to fostering globalization by attracting, supporting, engaging, and advocating for UNCW’s community of international students and scholars.

Specifically, ISSS:

  • Advises on and ensures institutional compliance with federal immigration regulations for students, visiting scholars, and employees on our visa sponsorship (F, J, H-1B, and LPR);
  • Provides transition support that addresses the unique needs of international students and scholars;
  • Coordinates events that engage international students with the broader community to promote a global culture throughout our campus and region;
  • Serves the broader campus community in an administrative and advisory capacity.
International Student Services Staff

International Student & Scholar Services Staff

Jen Fernandez-Villa, Director

Jen Fernandez-Villa has served as the director of International Student & Scholar Services for ten years. Prior to joining UNCW, Jen worked at the Center for International Faculty & Student Services at Rutgers University. Jennifer serves on the NAFSA Region VII board, served as chair of the North Carolina Association of International Educators and enjoys giving presentations and trainings at conferences. Jen is pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at UNCW, earned a Master's degree in Global Affairs from Rutgers, and a Bachelor's in Spanish from New York University. While attending NYU, Jen studied in Madrid, Spain for a year and Florence, Italy for a summer. Jen was born in Greece to an American father and English mother and is married to a Spaniard, with whom she has three amazing kids, ages 7, 5, and 3. Jen loves getting to know students and scholars from around the world and helping them as they settle in to their new life in the USA.

Jennifer Fernandez-Villa, professional photo

Jennifer Fernandez-Villa, fun photo with a mountain backdrop

Jessie Heim, Assistant Director

Jessie Heim has worked at UNCW for over five years. Prior to working in International Student & Scholar Services, Jessie worked in the Office of Admissions at UNCW with international applicants. Jessie earned both a Master's degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from UNCW. Jessie studied abroad in London during her undergraduate program and has worked in South Africa, Fiji, and Australia as a photographer. Jessie serves on the board of Study North Carolina and enjoys visiting international schools, conferences, and events to connect with international students and scholars from around the world. During a student's time at UNCW it is Jessie's priority to ensure students have an exceptional global Seahawk experience from the moment they step on-campus.

Jessie Heim, professional photo

Jessie Heim, fun photo on the water in a kayak with the sun setting

Amy Mabery, Exchange Visitor Specialist

Amy loves supporting international students and scholars during their transformative U.S. adventure! Amy is inspired when she hears students proudly tell their stories of overcoming challenges in their new environment. Working with students and scholars motivates her to keep asking the question "How can I do this better?" As a result she is often trying out new ideas for making orientation and advising more useful for students and scholars as well as more streamlined for staff.

Amy Mabery, professional photoAmy Mabery, fun photo with her dog

Ross Gormley, Global Liaison

Ross Gormley is in his second year of study at UNCW's MFA program for creative writing with a focus in creative nonfiction. He can often be seen around campus interviewing or photographing international students for the Campus Globe, a magazine that celebrates international student, faculty, and alumni achievement at UNCW. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and has taught English in Peru, Italy, South Boston, North Carolina, and Connecticut. He enjoys surfing, cycling, hiking, and seeing live rock music.  Ross

Emily Findley, Global Liaison

Emily is a graduate student in the Higher Ed Program. She is the coordinator for the Global Seahawk Certificate Program. Emily’s role is to plan events that allow students to learn about the culture of Wilmington. She was also an undergraduate student at UNCW and has lived in the Wilmington area for 11 years.  Emily will be traveling this fall to Ireland to complete her internship at Maynooth University.  Emily