International Student Table for Advocacy & Relations ISTAR

The International Student Table for Advocacy & Relations (ISTAR) works closely with ISSS and is a partnership of different student organizations, both undergraduate and graduate, with a mission to advocate 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)

  • Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) International Affairs

  • Undergraduate Assembly (UA)

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

Rudie Altamirano, Director of ISSS


ISTAR Members

Efe Ayhan
International Student Advisory Board
Efe Ayhan

Efe is a senior studying Computer Science and Economics in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He was born in Izmir and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. He is interested in software engineering and data science. At Penn, he is heavily involved with the international community, being a part of both Assembly of International Students and the International Student Advisory Board. He is also part of the WPS Dance Troupe, and enjoys sailing, social dancing and traveling in his free time.

Yisheng Jiang
Undergraduate Assembly
Yisheng Edward Jiang

A proud native of Sydney, Australia, Yisheng is a junior studying Economics and Political Science, minoring in Statistics. Yisheng is an elected representative of the Penn Undergraduate Assembly and is deeply passionate about expanding resources for Penn's diverse international, exchange, and transfer student bodies. At Penn, he is involved with the Wharton Public Policy Initiative, serving as Executive Vice President, and Phi Chi Theta. In his spare time, Yisheng enjoys kickboxing, cycling, and following the 76ers.

Image of Sasidharan Ravikumar
GAPSA International Student Affairs
Sasidharan Ravikumar

Sasidharan Ravikumar (Sasi) is a 2nd year Masters student in the Bioengineering program at the School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS). Sasi got his Bachelors degree in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from the National University of Singapore (NUS) where he navigated the challenges of being an international student as well as helping other international students with their challenges. Sasi worked in a global Pharma & Biotech company in both Singapore & Maryland, USA before starting grad school.

Outside of GAPSA, Sasi is also the President of Rangoli - The Indian Graduate Student Association at Penn.

Derya Yavuz
International Student Advisory Board
Derya Yavuz

Derya is a senior in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is from Istanbul, Turkey. As a computer engineering major, she is planning on going to law school after college. She is involved in PennApps, Assembly of International Students and Rachleff Scholars on campus. You can find her at Starbucks enjoying her coffee or at the library studying, or working out. As an international, she has faced a lot of challenges coming to Penn so would love to help anyone out with their own experience.  


Vivien Yiu
International Student Advisory Board
Vivien Yiu

Vivien Yiu is a PhD student at the Graduate School of Education studying Child Development. She is interested in studying how culture shapes children's relationships with their parents and peers, and how culture influences children's psychological, social, and academic outcomes. Vivien grew up in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and went to high school in Oxford, England. She received her B.A. in Psychology, Education, and Child Development from UCLA and graduated summa cum laude. She loves traveling, painting, reading, and doing yoga.