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Phone: +1.910.962.3367

Location: Office of International Programs, Hoggard Hall 160

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Office of International Students & Scholars fosters globalization at UNCW by recruiting, admitting, welcoming, advising, supporting, engaging, and advocating for UNCW’s community of international students and scholars. OISS builds partnerships with overseas partners to attract international students to UNCW and fosters relationships with advisers, counsellors, agents, and governmental agencies to increase the international student and scholar population on campus.  OISS provides transition support that addresses the unique needs of international students and scholars; ensures institutional compliance with federal immigration regulations for foreign students, visiting scholars, and employees on our visa sponsorship (F, J, H, and LPR); coordinates events and programs that engage international students with the broader community to promote a global culture throughout our campus; and serves the broader campus community in an administrative and advisory capacity.


Office of International Students & Scholars Staff

Dr. Jennifer Fernandez-Villa, Director of OISS

Jen Fernandez-Villa has served as the director of Office of International Students & Scholars for more than a decade. Prior to joining UNCW, Jen worked at the Center for International Faculty & Student Services at Rutgers University. Jennifer has served 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 earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNCW, a Master's 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 Athens, Greece to an American father and English mother and is married to a Spaniard, with whom she has three children.  Jen feels privileged to work towards expanding UNCW's global footprint and loves getting to know students and scholars from around the world as they settle in to their new life in the USA.

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Alexis McCloskey, Assistant Director of OISS (F-1, H-1, LPR Adviser)

Alexis McCloskey serves F-1 degree-seeking students as the Assistant Director of the Office of International Students & Scholars. Alexis also advises hiring departments and international faculty and staff on H-1B and green card petitions. Prior to joining the OISS team, Alexis worked at NC State as an International Programs Coordinator, supporting international students and scholars through a variety of social and cultural programs. Alexis earned a Master of Arts in International Studies and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Carolina University. During her masters program, she studied abroad in Spain. Alexis enjoys working with university partners to facilitate students' engagement in the campus community, and she is excited to support international students in reaching their academic and professional goals at UNCW.

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Amy Stello Lekeu, Assistant Director of OISS (J-1 Adviser)

Amy Stello Lekeu serves J-1 exchange students and scholars as the Assistant Director of the Office of International Students & Scholars. Amy earned her Master’s degree in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland and her Bachelor’s degree in English-Philosophy from Christopher Newport University. During her undergraduate program, Amy studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. After graduation, she spent a year volunteering with the Service Protestant de la Jeunesse in Belgium and continues to experience the importance of service learning. Amy lives in Wilmington with her Belgian husband and enjoys reading about innovative ideas, exploring new cooking techniques, and traveling. As an educator, Amy is strongly committed to equity and diversity in higher education as well as serving local and global communities on campus. 

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Amy Lekeu Photo

Jessie Heim, Assistant Director of International Admissions

Jessie Heim has worked at UNCW for over eight years. In her current role as Assistant Director of International Admissions, she works with all degree-seeking undergraduate international applicants to help them achieve their goal of pursuing a degree at UNCW. Prior to serving as the Assistant Director of International Admissions, Jessie served as the Assistant Director of OISS. 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 enjoys visiting international schools, conferences, and events to connect with international students and colleagues from around the world.

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Jessie Heim, professional photo

María Elena Gaborov Jones, OISS Program Coordinator

María Elena Gaborov Jones serves as the Program Coordinator of the Office of International Students & Scholars.  She earned her degree in Translation through the National University of Córdoba in Argentina and earned a Master’s degree in Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Prior to joining UNCW, María Elena worked at UNC Hospitals as a Spanish Medical Interpreter and Translator.  In 2013 she served as the International Medical Interpreters Association vice chair for North Carolina. She received the American Translators Association School Outreach Program Award that year for her contributions to the promotion of translation and interpretation.  María Elena loves diversity, learning new languages and traveling around the world.  She is passionate about assisting students in making the most of their experience in UNCW.  María Elena is a native of Argentina and is married to a North Carolinian, with whom she has two daughters.  

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Maria Elena

Lilia Aghzafi, Graduate Assistant 

Lilia Aghzafi serves as a graduate assistant in the Office of International Students & Scholars. Lilia earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As an undergraduate student, Lilia was an academic mentor with the University Learning Center and a transfer peer mentor in the transfer student seminar UNI 201. Lilia studied abroad in Australia and Belize. She is currently pursuing her International Masters of Business Administration in Finance at UNCW. Lilia is originally from London, England and Geneva, Switzerland. She enjoys helping others feel welcome at UNCW and learning about other cultures. Lilia loves going to concerts, sports events, and the cinema. Also reading, outdoor activities, and spending time with her rescue cats: Hermione and Mystique.