International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)


Common F-1 and J-1 Issues That Arise During Future Immigration Applications

Wednesday, November 13
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Constellation F

The focus of this presentation is to discuss common immigration issues relating to students and scholars in F-1/J-1 status that occur during future immigration applications. Given the heightened scrutiny applied by USCIS in adjudicating immigration applications, this presentation will provide DSOs and AROs with an understanding of what USCIS officers are focusing on relating to an applicant's present or past F-1/J-1 status when adjudicating non-immigrant (e.g. H-1Bs), immigrant (e.g. green cards), and citizenship applications. This presentation will also provide best practices for employment authorization and on how to advise international students and scholars about immigration considerations down the road.

Learning Objectives:

Elena Gruzdeva

Associate Director
Carnegie Mellon University Office of International Education

Elena was born and raised in Russia where she received a B.A./M.A. in Foreign Language and Literature (English) and taught English as a Second Language. She first came to the U.S. in 1993 as a J-1 exchange student and then in 1995 as an F-1 international student. She holds an M.S. in Information Science from Indiana University. She started her career in the field of international education at the end of 2003 at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, as an International Student Advisor and then Assistant Director of the International Services Office. In 2009 Elena started working as an International Student and Scholar Advisor at the University of Michigan International Center, Ann Arbor, MI. She was advising the population of approximately 7,000 international students and scholars on all aspects of F and J visas, later adding H-1B processing to her duties. From August 2015 to September 2017 Elena worked at Northeastern University in Boston, MA as an Associate Director. She was managing the area of the office responsible for providing advising and processing of all employment-related requests for international students, as well as services for all J-1 scholars, for the population of about 13,000 international students and scholars. In October 2017 she joined Carnegie Mellon University Office of International Education as Associate Director of Foreign Student & Scholar Services.


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Basim Kamal, JD

Maggio + Kattar

Basim joined Maggio + Kattar in 2017 as an Associate, where he works with a variety of non-profit and higher education clients. Prior to becoming an attorney, Basim provided immigration services, including case management and compliance auditing, for international faculty, staff, and students at one of the largest public universities in the U.S. During law school, Basim interned at the DOJ EOIR Detroit Immigration Court, as well as at USCIS's Office of the Chief Counsel.


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Shannon O'Reilly, MA

Immigration Specialist
University of Pittsburgh

Shannon is originally from Connecticut where she attended UConn. After she graduated, she accepted an internship in Berlin, Germany which sparked a passion in her for International Education. When she moved back to the US, she pursued her Masters in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She interned at Carnegie Mellon University's Office of International Education while she was a grad student and was eventually able to become an Immigration Specialist at the University of Pittsburgh's Office of International Services where she works with F-1 and J-1 students.


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Common F-1 and J-1 Issues That Arise During Future Immigration Applications


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