Meet the ISSS Staff

Debra De Bode

Director for International Student & Scholar Services


Deborah Chiolero

International Student and Scholar Advisor

Deborah has been employed with the Office of International Program since 2000. In her position as an International Student and Scholar Advisor, Deborah helps the international students with immigration, academics, cultural adjustment, housing and much more.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. After she graduated she spent three seasons working in Yellowstone National Park and moved to Bozeman.  Deborah really enjoys her job and meeting the students from all over the world.  Also, in her free time she enjoys spending time hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, biking and being with her family and friends.

Geraldine Govaerts

Manager for International Recruitment & Marketing

Geraldine promotes MSU to students and institutions around the world and also coordinates the Dual Diploma Programs with Turkish partner universities. Geraldine has been with the MSU Office of International Programs since 2006. Originally from Brussels, Belgium, she earned a Masters in Applied Communications - Public Relations from Brussels School IHECS and a Diploma of Specialized Studies in Cultural Management from the Free University of Brussels. Geraldine enjoys travelling and learning about different cultures. When in Bozeman, she enjoys hiking and biking in the beautiful surrounding area.

Brent Leavell

International Programs Specialist

Brent is an International Program Specialist focused primarily on international recruitment, graduate admissions and building stronger pathways with overseas institutes and organizations. Brent ‘s expertise is in Asian cultures and economic geography. He has lived for extended periods of time in Indonesia where he operated a trade business, performed his graduate research on traditional markets and participated as a Fulbright scholar. Brent was a river guide in Alaska , Montana and Idaho for almost two decades and enjoys whitewater rafting, backcountry skiing and biking in wild places. He graduated with his masters degree from Montana State University in 2010.

Susan Reisch

Susan has been with International Programs at Montana State since 2000 where she helps international undergraduates with their applications and admissions. She also oversees the Bozeman Friends of International Students program.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Susquehanna University . She was in the Peace Corps in Jamaica for 2 years and worked in Switzerland after graduating from college.  She moved to Bozeman in 1991 from New York City and enjoys all of the cultural events Bozeman offers.

Sally O'Neill

Immigration Specialist

Sally is the H-1B visa and the Permanent Residency specialist for Montana State University. She has been employed at the university since 1995 and has more than 25 years of experience in the field of international education. Sally also directs the Fulbright and Boren student scholarship programs at MSU. Sally moved to Montana with her family in 1995 from New Mexico where she served as Assistant Director of Study Abroad at the University of New Mexico for 10 years. Sally grew up in Colorado, Belgium and New Mexico.  She studied abroad in Mexico and in Spain and speaks fluent Spanish. She has a degree in studio art with an emphasis in metal work from the University of New Mexico.  A certified gemnologist, musician and singer, Sally is a woman of multiple talents.

Susan Welker

Education Abroad Manager

Susan is the Study Abroad Coordinator at Montana State University. In this position she works with both incoming and outgoing exchange students.  She has been involved with International Education since 2002 when she served as a JET participant in Tsushima, Japan.  Prior to joining the Office of International Programs she worked at Wittenberg University.  Originally from Ohio, she earned her bachelor of arts degree in East Asia Studies from Wittenberg University.  A true believer in the study abroad transformation, she spent two years studying abroad in Japan as an undergraduate student.  Susan is a currently working on completing her Masters in Adult and Higher Education at MSU.

John Richardson

John Richardson

International Student and Scholar Advisor

John is an International Student and Scholar Advisor at Montana State University. He helps international students with their immigration status, academics and any other questions that arise. John spent a year living and working in the Middle East, has driven the Canada-Alaska Highway three times, spent a month backpacking around Shoalwater Bay in Australia and traveled through the North and South islands of New Zealand. He has a BA in Political Science with a concentration of International Relations from Montana State University and is currently working on his Masters. When not in the office, John is often outside exploring the mountains or enjoying Bozeman's delicious eateries and diverse culture.

May Heriza

Agent Partnership Manager

As the Agent Partnership Manager, May works with professional educational advisors in many regions of the world to promote MSU to prospective students.  She takes pride in assisting students make the best choice for their educational future through the guidance of trained international agents. She has enjoyed working with international students since her VISTA experience at the Lao-Hmong Association in Nebraska over 25 years ago after completing her BS at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She feels fortunate to call Bozeman home where outdoor activities are a big part of her family’s life.