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Student Success Stories

Ali Sina Sharifi

Ali Sina Sharifi [Afghanistan]

Sina is a political science major with an international concentration. Sina was drawn to Ship because of the intentionality that he experienced from the university during the admissions process. “Mary Burnett and the office were always checking in through the process. I was in touch with other universities, but none of them were this responsive or helpful. You have good facilities and a small number of people living here and studying, and they do care.” A significant highlight for Sina has been the educational freedom that he has experienced at Ship through being a political science major, his involvement in Student Government Association, as well as writing for the Slate. “When we come here, there are a lot of opportunities for people to open our eyes and broaden our horizon. This idea of the ‘dream’ is very big for young Afghans like me.” In his closing remarks, Sina encouraged incoming international students to become involved in different learning opportunities on campus beyond just their courses. “Many international students, you see them in very small groups. I encourage them to get involved. 50% of my learning process and experience has been doing things. It’s more important to know how to do it, how to implement it.”


Lucas Costa

Lucas Costa [Brazil]

Lucas is currently completing his general Master in Business Administration in the John L. Grove College of Business, an AACSB accredited business school. Lucas’ interest in Ship developed through discovering the business program, as well as through his passion for becoming a soccer coach. Lucas shared how grateful he has been for the encouragement of each of his professors, “Classes are really nice, professors have treated me really well even though I was coming off of a year of not studying due to work. I felt really welcomed by all the professors.” As he reflected back on his time at Ship, Lucas spoke about how his experiences in the business program as well as being a graduate assistant on the women’s soccer team will go hand in hand with his future career as a soccer coach. Lucas also highlighted how helpful the athletic and Global Education departments have been in his development as a student. In his closing thoughts for international students, Lucas said, “My road has always been discovery. Having that feeling inside, just go and see for yourself… Go and you never know what could happen… I wouldn’t change my experiences for anything. If you have the opportunity, and if you’re willing to take the risk, go and do it.”


Eve Nealon

Eve Nealon [Ireland]

Eve is a Civil Engineering Major with a minor in International Business. Eve first became interested in Ship through the university’s recently established civil engineering program, the first in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, as well as to play basketball in the U.S. “The main attraction was the success of the women’s basketball program, and the resources they have here for engineering. It is a brand new school and not a lot of schools and state schools offer civil engineering in PA. The fact that it is new and up and coming was a big factor…We’re the first ones to use all of the equipment so it’s all state of the art stuff.” One of Eve’s favorite parts of being a student at Ship has been the close-knit, intimate community she has found with her fellow students and professors. “I have really enjoyed how small the school is, it’s not one of the large universities where you feel like you might get lost or don’t feel like you know anyone. The teacher-to-student ratio is pretty good. The small classes, great instructors, it’s been really one-on-one learning.” Eve is also thankful for all of the other resources and organizations provided on campus to support her as a student including the Counseling Center, Global Education Department, as well as the Career, Mentoring, and Professional Development Center. Eve offered this advice to international students looking at Ship, “Put yourself out there, push yourself. There are a lot of reasons you can talk yourself into putting yourself out there and being uncomfortable. There are going to be bumps in the road, you don’t know what you don’t know. But there is a good community to help you out.”


Merel Hoekstra

Merel Hoekstra [Netherlands]

Merel is a Marketing major at Ship. Two major highlights of Merel’s experience so far at Ship have been her involvement in the Marketing department, as well as being a student-athlete on the women’s field hockey team. Merel said, “I’ve built relationships with professors which really helps, and they’ve also been helpful in getting guest speakers in the field I want to go into… It is exciting because we get real people talking about things that we want to do. Ship also has the ACSSB accreditation, which really helps set us up for a job a little bit better than other schools that don’t have that.” Merel’s encouragement to incoming international students was to take a chance, and to realize that being an international student is a once in a lifetime opportunity. She also shared, “Don’t be afraid to share a piece of your culture, people might not always be open to it. But, in the end, it might help them see a bigger view of what the world is like.”


Yoshie Hirano

Yoshie Hirano [Japan]

Yoshie is currently obtaining a Master of Education degree with a specialization in Counseling. When speaking about Shippensburg University, Yoshie continued to highlight the encouragement and warmth that she has received from staff members, facilities, and students. Some of her favorite highlights of being a student have been the support of each of her professors in the counseling program, as well as her involvement as a Peer Educator in the Connection AOD Program on campus. While she acknowledged the challenges that have come from being a graduate student, she also noted how much growth she has seen in herself not only as a future school counselor but as a person in only her first few semesters at Ship. Talking about the Global Education Department, Yoshie explained how welcoming the staff have been when assisting her with any questions or concerns she has had since coming to Shippensburg. “I have learned the importance of my culture, race, and ethnicity to better understand my identity. I am able to see my values and worldview throughout the learning experiences as well as learning about other cultures, races, and ethnicities in Ship.”


Nicola Pugge

Nicola Pugge [Germany]

Nicola is a Communication, Journalism and Media major, with an International Studies minor. Nicola was drawn to Shippensburg university for the combination of academics and athletics. One of Nicola’s favorite parts of being a student at Ship has been how close everyone and everything is on campus. Another highlight for her has been how supportive professors and other staff members have been as she as adapted to taking courses in English at Ship. “I had to start doing all the classes in English, that was a lot, but it also prepares me because now the world is so connected, that speaking English is very good for employers to see. The fact that I am completing my entire degree abroad is going to be a great factor for employment.” For advice that she offered to other international students coming to Ship, Nicola shared, “Just don’t be afraid… When you do come here, still don’t be afraid to reach out to Mary or other international students, because international students are usually willing to help each other, so you won’t feel as alone.”


Oliver Perry

Oliver Perry [England]

Oliver Perry is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Counseling, College Counseling and Student Affairs. One of the best parts of Shippensburg University, Oliver said, has been all the experiences he has had in the Counseling Program. Oliver shared how the program has pushed him to learn more about himself and how he has discovered his love for working in student affairs throughout the program. Oliver explained, “I feel like the professors care about you so much. They take time to understand and listen to you, which helps you learn so much more.” Another highlight for Oliver of being a student at Shippensburg University has been the wide range of clubs and organizations offered on campus. For international students, Oliver encourages participation in clubs and organizations as, “It allows you to meet new people, learn, and figure out what goes on around campus. The International Student Organization is also very helpful, you are with other international students who understand what you are going through.”

Contact the Center for Global Education Mowrey Hall Rooms 246-251 1871 Old Main Drive Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1279
Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.