SFA Office of International Programs to receive strategic internationalization grant

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Focused on fostering a culture of global engagement on campus, Stephen F. Austin State University’s Office of International Programs received a grant to create staff member training programs meant to equip students for global challenges.

Heather Catton, director of the OIP, Inés Maxit, study abroad coordinator, and Sarah Lower, international admissions coordinator, wrote a winning proposal for the Texas International Education Consortium’s Internationalization Grant competition. This new grant was one of three awarded and is intended to support new institutional efforts that will build greater campus internationalization over time.

“This is something that we have been thinking about for a long time, so we are thrilled and grateful to receive this grant from the Texas International Education Consortium to bring greater awareness to study abroad opportunities,” Catton said. “Staff members interact with our students every day in important ways, so we feel they are ideal for helping to inform and influence students about the opportunities in study abroad.”

SFA’s OIP aims to use this grant to generate radical increases in the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics students studying abroad. With the support of the grant and in partnership with Riga Technical University in Latvia, SFA is developing a robust network of study abroad advisors and mentors specific to STEM majors.

To achieve this, six academic advisors will be trained to speak to students about making study abroad a reality — whether by advising how study abroad can fit into a degree plan, counseling on financial aspects or relating the benefits to future careers. The newly trained advisors will travel to Latvia in March to collaborate with Riga Technical University and plan programming to get more SFA STEM students involved in study abroad.

“SFA currently offers ample programs and options for study abroad. The challenge has been to get students to know they can add an international experience to their academic program, and none better to do this than staff members who have frequent interactions with them,” Maxit said. “With the support of this grant, we plan to develop a network of counselors able to advise and encourage study abroad.”

To learn more about SFA’s Office of International Programs, visit sfasu.edu/international.


By Alyssa Faykus, senior marketing specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University

Division of University Marketing Communications 
(936) 468-2605