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International Student Services Team

The International Student Services team includes dedicated faculty and staff who have studied or lived abroad at some point in their lives and understand some of the challenges individuals may face while adjusting to life in a new country.

We are here to help you on your journey because we want to see you succeed. We are located in different areas around TMCC, so look for the building and room number next to our names.

Department People
Natalie Brown

Natalie Brown, PhD

Academic Advisement Director

Natalie has been advising students for over ten years and particularly enjoys working with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. She currently oversees the Academic Advisement Office and works with the International academic advisors to help students understand degree plans and steps to complete degrees. Prior to her work at TMCC, she was one of the international academic advisors at the University of Utah and traveled to China on various trips to advise students on programs and transfer possibilities as well as developed programming to assist all new international students in the transition to education in the U.S. She obtained her undergraduate and masters degree in Spanish and loves to travel to places where she can keep up that language skill as well as new countries she has never been. Natalie serves as a backup to international student academic advisors.

Sione Lavaka

Sione Lavaka, BA

International Student Academic Advisor

Sione received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2013. After a year as an undergraduate, Sione spent 2 years on LDS mission in Samoa, Apia. Sione had to learn a new language, learn a new culture, and adapt to a new lifestyle for 2 years. Sione is currently a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. Sione's passions include binge eating and watching Netflix.

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Virag Nikolics

International Student Advisor

Virag serves as our International Student Advisor, so if you have any questions related to your F-1 immigration status, she’s here to help. Virag was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary and moved to the U.S. to begin her college education. Virag has earned a BA in English, Creative Writing and an MA in Education, Special Emphasis in International/Intercultural Education. Based on her own journey as an international student, Virag has devoted her interest to international education and has worked with international students for over 15 years. Prior to her recent move to Reno, Virag was an International Student/Scholar Advisor at the University of California, Davis and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area before then, teaching ESL. In her free time, Virag enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, writing poetry, reading and discovering new hikes in the Reno-Tahoe Area. Virag is excited to meet and work with new international students and helping them adjust to their new home, Reno. She speaks Hungarian and Spanish.

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Jefferson Phillips

International Peer Mentor

Jefferson is an International Student pursuing his Associate of Science in Computer Science; his home country is Costa Rica, a beautiful tropical country in Central America. After Jefferson graduated from a Costa Rican high school, he received a scholarship from CRUSA Foundation to continue his higher education in the United States. He then decided to study at Truckee Meadows Community College, starting in Fall 2018. During his first semester, he became part of the International Student Services team and had been working on the International Students’ behalf ever since. “Living overseas might be intimidating, and the transition to the unknown American higher education system might overwhelm some. I would be glad to help foreign students to succeed in their educational life such as I was once helped,” Jefferson says. He has strong interests in swimming, eating good food, and coding. English and Spanish are his strongest languages, but he also speaks Italian and is currently learning Portuguese.

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Valeria Saborio

International Peer Mentor

Valeria is an international student from Costa Rica pursuing her Industrial and Systems Engineering degree at TMCC since Spring 2019. As an International Peer Mentor she is passionate about helping international students thrive and succeed in all areas; she understands the challenges and experiences an international student overcomes, being one herself. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese and loves learning about cultures from around the world. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, exploring the outdoors, watching Friends and playing volleyball. She is also involved on campus working as the Vice President for the Student Government Association at TMCC (2019–2020). She encourages international students to get involved in some way, whether it is through clubs, organizations, jobs on campus or simply attending the many events TMCC has. 

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Amanda Stibick

Program Manager

Amanda got her start in international education more than 14 years ago. She began working with domestic students interested in studying overseas. Her experience started in Germany where she worked with American study abroad students, then for a non-profit organization based in New York City assisting college-aged individuals with overseas internship opportunities. She has worked in higher education with incoming international students for the past seven years and enjoys getting to know students from all over the world. In her free time, Amanda enjoys cooking, spending time with her family and catching up on the latest movies and tv shows. Amanda obtained her bachelor’s degree in German and master's degree in educational psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.