A friend to students who come farthest
NAME: Ingrid Orellana
ROLE: aiding international students
NOTABLE FOR: Welcoming Spirit
By Jonathan Chandra
On any given academic day, crowds of students travel through the doors of MacDonald Hall, dashing upstairs to make it to their next class or express their payment problems to Student Financial Services. However, the steadily growing cadre of international students on campus are familiar with the building for another reason—its somewhat lesser-travelled lower floor houses International Student Services (ISS) and the ever-smiling Ingrid Orellana.
As ISS Coordinator, Orellana, a graduate of Gordon’s class of ‘15, works closely with the International Student Organization (ISO), both with the leadership team and with individual students in the international community.
“ISS is family!” says Orellana when asked to describe her department in her own words.
“We’re here for international students who may need specific services like being taken to the social security office, direction to other services on campus, or someone to simply be there for them when family is miles and miles away.”
Originally from El Salvador, Orellana has been an influence on campus for some time — dating to her initial enrollment as a student in 2011. As a student, she served the general community as a TA for the Spanish department and worked as an Admissions Ambassador. However, she was most known for her contribution in the international community, and was a fixture in the early days of the International Student Organization (ISO), as a leader for one year and Student Director for two.
As Student Director, Orellana worked closely with the newly formed ISS office, and helped to develop ISO Orientation—a formative time for incoming internationals, held before General Orientation, to help familiarize them with campus services, cushion the impact of culture shock, and establish a support system.
Orellana’s involvement in ISO as a student served as a platform for employment with ISS. Upon graduating, she returned to Gordon as ISS Coordinator for her optional practical training (OPT), and has recently been approved a long-term work visa to continue in her passion of supporting the international student body.
“I came in to the United States as an international student and now I have the chance to be there for international students,” says Orellana.
Orellana’s closing advice for incoming students, international and domestic, is this: “Be strong and courageous! Your first year at school will bring lots of changes, you’ll learn so much about yourself and will be stretched in many ways. Don’t be afraid of change! Push yourself and don’t give up!”