The International Student Table for Advocacy & Relations, or ISTAR, is a partnership between different student organizations, both undergraduate and graduate, whose purpose is to advocate for and provide a unified voice for all international students at Penn.

ISTAR comprises representatives from the following student organizations:

  • International Student Advisory Board (ISAB)
  • Assembly of International Students (AIS)
  • GAPSA International Affairs
  • Undergraduate Assembly (UA)

ISTAR is coordinated by ISSS. For any questions about ISTAR, please contact:



2016-2017 ISTAR Member Biographies

  • Fangming Li

    After finishing my high school in China, I went to Canada for undergraduate in economics and human biology at University of Toronto. I am currently studying at University of Pennsylvania Dental Medicine.

    Being an international myself, I understand the academic, cultural and social challenges that we face everyday. A student mentor at my university helped me tremendously to transition into a different culture, which I was truly grateful for. Now it is my turn do the same for other international students. During university, I was the president at International Student Center. I organized field trips, dinner with professors, sporting events, musical Fridays, academic and language workshops, and cultural events etc. to bring students closer. I also helped improve communication between student body and school, advocate rights and advised to make changes in school policies tocreate a more international-student-friendly environment.

    At dental school, I participated in organizing cultural events, such as Mid Autumn Festival, Indian Bollywood Dances, Vietnamese spring rolls making workshops etc. I enjoy making friends with people with different backgrounds, and am always curious about learning about different cultures. I hope I can make a positive impact in international student body by joining ISAB!

  • Chhavi Aggarwal

    Chhavi is a sophomore in Wharton studying Finance and Management. She was born in India, but spent majority of her life moving around South East Asia. She has lived in six cities other than Philadelphia and went to seven schools before coming to Penn. Having had to constantly adapt to changing environments, Chhavi understands the challenges that come with being an international student and hopes to better the international student experience at Penn, through ISAB. She is also actively involved in the Alumni and Employment Committee of the Assembly for International Students (AIS).

  • Anny Hu

    Anny currently serves as the president of the Assembly of International Students (AIS). Hailing from Shanghai, Anny is a junior studying Computational Biology in the College and Business in Wharton. She previously went to 7 different schools in Vancouver, Shanghai, and Sydney before coming to Penn. She started her involvement with AIS as Freshman Rep and has seen great milestones achieved for international students throughout her time at Penn. Anny’s hopes that her leadership can further improve the experience of all international students from the moment they receive an acceptance letter to after they become international alumni. Anny looks forward to the improvement that ISTAR can make for the international community. If you also ever want to get to know AIS more, have any suggestions about our work, or just want to chat, feel free to hit her up to grab some food or coffee sometime!

  • Dhruv Agarwal

    Dhruv currently serves as the Executive Vice-President of the Assembly of International Students (AIS). He is a sophomore in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences majoring in Computer Science. Originally from India, Dhruv attended high school in Nairobi, Kenya and has traveled to over 50 cities in 18 countries spanning 5 continents. He loves to meet new people and understand new cultures! He is excited about bringing about change in the international community on Penn's campus and spearheading efforts to bolster the international student community on campus! Outside of AIS, Dhruv is also a member of the PennApps executive board and the Wharton Undergraduate Finance Club board. 

  • Divya Lakshmi Karunanithi

    Divya is a second year Master’s student in Electrical Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to coming to Penn, she was pursuing her Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in India. She is currently the Chair of International Affairs, GAPSA (Graduate and Professional Student Assembly).

    Having been a part of student government organizations right from her middle school, Divya has a good experience in catering to the needs of the students and serving as an effective link between the student and administrative bodies. Being an international student herself, Divya can correlate with the general issues faced by a majority of the international students at Penn. As the Chair of International Affairs, she hopes to bridge the ethnic differences between the various minority groups on campus while empowering them at the same time. She works closely with Penn Global and also attends the ISTAR Meetings with AIS, ISAB, ISSS, and UA to help execute strategies to solve the issues faced by the international student community. Divya is very excited to continue her association with GAPSA and is looking forward to serve Penn’s international graduate and professional students.