International Student and Scholar Advisor

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Salary commensurate with experience + full benefits
Nov 02, 2022
Dec 02, 2022
Position Type
Adviser / Advisor
Employment Type
Organization Type

International Student and Scholar Advisor

The people of Van Andel Institute (VAI) are what make us a global leader in biomedical and science education. A hub for ideas and advancements, the Institute is fueled by a community of bright minds who share a relentless curiosity and a deep commitment to making the world a better place. 

Due to tremendous levels of growth at VAI, the Human Resources team is seeking to add an International Student and Scholar Advisor to our dedicated and passionate team. 

As an International Student and Scholar Advisor, you will serve as the primary point-of-contact for a small population of international Ph.D. students and Postdoctoral scholars while working as part of a dedicated team to develop a modern and dynamic international student/scholar program with an eye toward future growth. You will be a valued member of a close-knit community and will be empowered to affect real change within a growing organization.

Under the direction of the Immigration Services Program Director, your responsibilities will focus primarily on F-1 and J-1 student and scholar programming; advising students, scholars, and administrative units on F-1 and J-1 regulations; and processing F-1 and J-1 student requests for Van Andel Institute Graduate School‘s Ph.D. program in Molecular and Cellular Biology and J-1 scholar requests for VAI’s Postdoctoral Fellow program.

What will you be responsible for?

  • Serve as F-1 Program DSO and J-1 Program ARO.
  • Advise international students and scholars, VAI Graduate School, and research departments on matters related to F-1 and J-1 regulations, including eligibility requirements, sponsorship processes, visa applications, maintenance of status, international travel, employment authorization, and related immigration benefits.
  • Work closely with the VAI Graduate School and sponsoring units to process visa sponsorship requests and immigration paperwork for F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars.
  • Design and administer pre-arrival and post-arrival orientations and other educational programming related to F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors.
  • Develop print- and web-based content and educational materials related to F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors.
  • Assist in the formulation, implementation, and maintenance of institutional policies, processes, handbooks, and information systems related to F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors.
  • Assist in the development and maintenance of international student and scholar records, policies, and processes to ensure compliance with federal regulations.
  • Work closely with internal and external stakeholders on matters relating to international students and scholars. Some domestic travel may be required.

What experience is “a must” have?

  • U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status (federal requirement for DSO and ARO eligibility)
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3+ years of experience as DSO and F-1 international student advisor
  • Demonstrated substantial knowledge of F-1 and J-1 student regulations
  • Enjoy meeting new people and working with diverse populations
  • Willingness and desire to learn and grow as part of a dynamic team that serves F-1 students, J-1 students and scholars, and other employees on employment-based visas
  • Strong creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to develop and maintain relationships with international students and scholar, key administrative units, and other internal and external stakeholders

What other experience is preferred?

  • Experience as ARO and J-1 student/scholar advisor
  • Demonstrated substantial knowledge of J-1 scholar regulations
  • Experience developing and presenting international student or scholar programming

What will you get?

  • Excellent pay and work-life balance in a low-stress work environment (pay commensurate with experience)
  • Relocation assistance
  • Comprehensive benefits package (medical/vision/dental/401k)
  • Paid Time Off (vacation, PTO, holidays)
  • Paid parking in downtown Grand Rapids
  • Flexible scheduling with some remote work opportunity
  • Many other perks (café, gym)
  • Professional development and growth opportunities
  • To be part of an organization that serves as a guiding light of hope and brings about scientific discoveries that will benefit future generations.

Who we are:
Van Andel Institute began with a vision: to improve human health. 

Founded by the Van Andel family in 1996 in downtown Grand Rapids, MI, the Institute is now home to more than 400 scientists, educators and support staff, each one deeply connected to the work we do and driven by an urgent desire to make a difference. 

Every day, VAI scientists collaborate at the forefront of fundamental and translational science in pursuit of breakthrough treatment strategies for cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases. With a growing reputation as a worldwide hub for exceptional basic research, we engage the world’s brightest minds to leverage our unique catalytic collaborative approach to translate our discoveries through partnerships with academia, clinical, industry and philanthropic collaborators. We operate without walls — integrating diverse perspectives and our shared values, with the aim of orchestrating joint programs to accelerate the connection between discovery and impact. 

Why choose the Van Andel Institute?

VAI is a hub for ideas and advancements fueled by a community of 35 faculty and over 400 scientists, educators, and support staff, each one of us deeply connected to the work we do and driven by an urgent desire to make a difference. 

We understand that attracting the highest caliber of talent means offering an exciting job and high-quality benefits that meet one’s personal needs. Our benefits are designed to allow you peace of mind for your wellbeing and support our diverse and changing lives outside of work. 

VAI also operates under a flexible/hybrid work model, offering as much flexibility as possible to support individual work-styles and provide stability, social cohesion, identity, and belonging. We believe by providing this flexibility our employees will continue to innovate and connect to the work we do and ensures we are driven by an urgent desire to make a difference. 

The Institute is located in fun, affordable, and family-friendly Grand Rapids, MI. Located on the banks of the Grand River, Grand Rapids offers all the big-city excitement you'd expect from a million-resident metropolis, featuring hundreds of restaurants and nightspots, theaters, museums, sports, and concerts. The safe and clean downtown is surrounded by an eclectic mix of walkable neighborhoods.

How to Apply:

We would love to have a conversation with you! The first step in beginning this conversation is starting your application.  

In addition to your resume, provide us a cover letter clearly explaining why you are interested in this role and how your experiences align with the job duties and expectations of the position. 

If you have any difficulty uploading your application or any questions, please email Natalie Hartford at 

At Van Andel Institute, the health and safety of our people is our number one priority. As a condition of employment at Van Andel Institute, all employees are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. “Full vaccination” is defined as two weeks after both doses of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks since a single-dose vaccine has been administered.  

VAI is committed to achieving excellence through increasing diversity. We actively encourage applications from women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups. 

 Van Andel Institute is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Employer.  

As Van Andel Institute is a drug and alcohol-free employer, all prospective new employees undergo a urinalysis/drug test as part of our pre-employment process.  This is a 7-panel drug screen and it includes testing for Marijuana, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opiates, PCP, Barbiturates, and Benzodiazepines.