ISSS Staff Honored with 2020-21 Models of Excellence Award

June 4, 2021
By International Student and Scholar Services

We are proud to announce that 20 members of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) team have been recognized as recipients of the 2021 Models of Excellence Award!

Penn Human Resources' Models of Excellence program recognizes notable staff member accomplishments at Penn that reflect initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, and a deep commitment to service. Award-winning teams are selected for their embodiment of the five Standards of Excellence:

  • Supportive practices, procedures, and policies
  • Innovative and proactive leadership
  • Extraordinary service to key constituencies
  • Substantial cost-effectiveness
  • Exemplary relationship building within and/or outside of the immediate organization

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many international students and scholars facing complex immigration situations, staggering time differences, and other challenges. It is an honor to have been recognized for our efforts to ensure that the University continues to benefit from the academic, cultural, and professional contributions of its international community during such challenging times.

ISTAR (the International Student Table for Advocacy and Relations): "ISSS not only provided students with logistical support when faced with tremendous immigration hurdles, but also solidified its commitment to cultural integration. They reduced the burden on the international student community, knowing that an organization at Penn is constantly fighting to ensure their welfare and health, wherever they may be around the globe."

Sean V. Burke and Wendy S. White, Penn Office of General Counsel: "In December 2019, no one would have thought that we would have to decide how to advise thousands of students on whether they would be able to reenter the United States at all, or under what circumstances. It is a testament to the ISSS Team's remarkable dedication and proficiency that we have made it to where we are."

2021 Models of Excellence Awards Honoree The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Team excelled in providing extraordinary service to departmental staff and international scholars. The ISSS Team delivered exemplary relationship building and educational outreach with departmental staff and coordinated solutions with departments , while constantly improving practices that solve problems for our international community.

The ISSS Team

The award-winning team is made up of the following staff members:

Rodolfo "Rudie" Altamirano Aaron Fuccello Shyrmaine Sin
Jaclyn Billek Chiwei Huang-Ma Jeremy Spohr
Julia Carboni Traci Martin Donna Steinfeldt
Marianna Chiaravalloti Nile Miller Ryan Villanueva
Chao-Hung Chung Amanda Phipps Huan Yang
Riley Cook Melinda Pontes Lily Zhang
Aaron Debruin Juan Serrat  
Congratulations 2021 Honorees: Models of Excellence
Meet the 2021 Models of Excellence Awardees

View the video to meet all of this year's honorees and to hear members of the ISSS Team discuss how they have continued to serve Penn's international community during the pandemic and beyond.