“My avocation and occupation are one and the same,” comments Jeannie Wang when asked about her hobbies and interests. “Commitment to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) at Rutgers University in Newark,” she jokes.
“My job is all-consuming,” notes Wang, assistant dean and director of OISSS, “and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Wang joined R U-N in September 2008 as an OISSS advisor and soon thereafter was appointed director. Her greatest pleasure is to provide the much needed services to the international students and scholars who make R U-N their chosen institution of higher education.
During her time at OISSS, the office’s constituency has grown. From 300 in 2008, OISSS now assists more than 1,000 international students, scholars and their dependents by providing them a wide range of programs and services. Whether it’s transportation from the airport upon their initial arrival to Newark, orientation programs, advice on maintaining their legal status, liaison services with state and federal agencies, or referrals to other Rutgers offices, OISSS strives to be a home-away-from-home to many.
“We don’t stand on formality here,” notes Wang. “We have an open-door policy.” Consequently, OISSS often feels and looks like Newark Liberty International Airport, with people of all nationalities and ethnicities rushing in and out, making impromptu appearances throughout the day to seek counsel on a variety of issues. Since all of OISSS’s files are electronic, the paperless environment frees up the staff to accommodate more face-to-face, chance encounters.
One of Wang’s many accomplishments as director of OISSS is the development of her staff. Her distinguished team consists of two advisors, Jennifer Nakanishi and Lindsey Titus, and one administrative assistant, Carol Soto. The group’s professionalism and collegiality pervade the office.
Twelve years of experience in a similar role at Pace University enables Wang to operate OISSS effectively and efficiently. She left Pace and moved from Upstate New York to Central New Jersey when her husband of 29 years received a job offer from a New Jersey-based company.
Wang’s entire career has been devoted to international education, commencing with her education. Her impressive credentials include an undergraduate and two graduate degrees earned in three countries. She received her bachelor’s degree in China, majoring in English, her master of education in administration and supervision in Canada, and her master of science in information systems in the United States.
“One last thing -- on further reflection, I enjoy reading a lot and spending time with my son, who is an alumnus of R U-N. So I guess I do have hobbies and interests separate from OISSS after all,” Wang smiles.