International Studies & Programs

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VIPP Staff

Did you know that VIPP's 10 staff members represent 5 countries – the U.S., China, South Korea, Germany, and the Netherlands? We are so proud of our diversity! Being that many of us international by ourselves, our staff is committed to providing positive MSU and American experiences to our international visitors. Hosting close to 500 visitors annually, we understand what visiting professionals, their families, and their employers want and need. Our team strives to deliver high-quality programs and services. Please check our individual backgrounds and qualifications below (sorted alphabetically). 

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Nicole Ambacher, Program Coordinator

Nicole Ambacher

Tel. (517) 432-8686 

I joined MSU as a Program Coordinator for the Visiting International Professional Program in August 2017. I received my M.A. in Future Studies from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) and my B.A. in Nursing Pedagogy from the University of Applied Sciences in Weingarten (Germany).

For the last 12 years, I have been working in different roles in the healthcare and education industry - from teaching, developing concepts for mobile learning, to curriculum research and evaluation. I worked with universities on innovation projects. As a corporate foresight consultant, I developed and led strategic planning workshops for companies and startups. I have served as a health research evaluator for the European Union several times, and I also co-founded two small businesses.

I have worked and lived in Europe, West Africa, and North America. This international background gives me a deep understanding of cultural diversity. My passion is to facilitate learning from and with each other through the Visiting International Professional Program.

I am an urban gardener, and I enjoy kayaking on Michigan's rivers and lakes.

Dr. Xiaoqing Chen, Program Coordinator

Xiaoqing side-by-side.jpgTel. (517) 884-3487

I joined the VIPP team in Fall 2014. As a program coordinator, I design and develop both short-term and long-term programs for international professionals and students and make sure that they benefit from our programs and services.

I earned my Ph.D. degree in Second Language Studies at Michigan State University. My major field of study includes conversational interaction, with a focus on the effect of corrective feedback on foreign/second language learning and the factors affecting the effect of corrective feedback. I am also interested in learner/teacher beliefs and learner motivation. Before coming to MSU, I had received a master's degree in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in China, and had been teaching in a couple of universities in China for a few years. Recently, VIPP began hosting many visiting scholars specialized in foreign language teaching and research, and I am happy to use my expertise to serve them by giving lectures, organizing seminars, and providing academic supervision.

At VIPP, it is my pleasure to work with professionals from all over the world and from diverse educational backgrounds. I am happy to be a part of the whole MSU community that is dedicated to realizing its World Grant Ideal.

Dr. Kiwon Kang, Academic Advisor/Coordinator

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Tel. (517) 884-2178

I am mainly responsible for designing, developing, and implementing training and workshop programs for professionals in many sectors (such as finance, economic policy, international relations, government, education, packaging, etc.) and from various countries (including Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and others). As an academic advisor, I have been in charge of the academic oversight of programs and curricula.

I received my Ph.D. in economics at Michigan State University in 2002. My fields of interest are public finance, global economic analysis, open economy macroeconomics, computational general equilibrium (CGE) analysis. My notable publications include "International Ramifications of U.S. Tax-Policy Changes" in the Journal of Policy Modeling (2003), and "Asymmetries and Tariff-Tax Reforms in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation" in the Journal of Economic Asymmetries (2007).

Since I joined VIPP, I have enjoyed multitasking. Besides my major responsibilities as an academic advisor/coordinator, I have been teaching basic microeconomics and macroeconomics courses for undergraduate students in the Department of Economics, and also teaching applied economics courses for international professionals. I am leading the Council on Korean Studies, which was established in the Asian Studies Center to promote Korean studies and programs at Michigan State University.

I have been enjoying Michigan life for more than 20 years, even the cold weather and snow. I am so crazy about MSU football and basketball. I was lucky to see both the 2000 NCAA Basketball National Championship and the 2014 NCAA Football 100th Rose Bowl Championship. I hope to see another championship win very soon. Go Green! Go White!

Joseph E. Murphy, Fiscal Officer

joe side-by-side.jpgTel. (517) 884-2171

As of November 14, 2016, I am a new fiscal officer for VIPP. In this role, I am responsible for managing financial transactions, providing logistical support, reviewing and submitting personnel hiring forms, and ensuring compliance with University business procedures and regulations. I will also serve as the human resources contact for VIPP.  

I joined VIPP in December of 2014 as an administrative lead and provided administrative support to all VIPP operations pertinent to our participants' academic and social life, including visa applications, MSU IDs, course enrollment, event planning, and daily issues that our faculty, staff or participants may deal with. 

I received my BA degree in Accounting from Northwood University in 2011. Prior to joining VIPP, I worked for MSU's Infrastructure Planning and Facility (IPF) department, which gave me a vast knowledge of MSU's campus layout. I also coach baseball at the Junior Varsity level for Holt High School, where I graduated in 2007. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my friends, dog and family. My hobbies include fishing, jet skiing, camping and golf.

Ingmar Pack, Assistant Program Coordinator

Tel. (517) 884-2176


As an international education professional, I am very pleased to join the VIPP team at Michigan State University. In my role of Assistant Program Coordinator, I focus on short-term program development & management for international delegations from all sectors that seek impactful professional development at a world-class university.

I was born and raised in the Netherlands, where I received a B.A. and M.A. in American Studies from the University of Groningen and the University of Nijmegen, respectively. At Central Michigan University, I earned Master’s degrees in Higher Education Administration and Transnational & Comparative History.

In my career I am particularly passionate about facilitating intercultural learning, and have worked at other Midwestern institutions on themes of internationalization strategic planning, curricular design, education abroad, and international enrollment management. I am excited to contribute to the success of visiting professionals at MSU.

In my spare time I enjoy playing soccer and experiencing the incredible natural beauty of the state of Michigan.

Dr. Mina Shin, Assistant Director

mina side-by-side.jpgTel. (517) 884-2180

I am a versatile Ph.D. with passion, creativity, and intellectual curiosity. I have more than 10 years of work experiences in the U.S. Higher Education and International Exchange Programs as faculty and an administrator. As Assistant Director in VIPP, I provide leadership and direction for the strategic communications, marketing, and outreach initiatives for VIPP. I am also in charge of Global Summer School Programs for international college students as well as professional training programs for international visitors. My latest workshop on trauma care for South Korean government was featured by local TV news and MSU Today.  

I received my B.A. in Korean Language Education from Seoul National University and my Master's and Ph.D. from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining VIPP, I was faculty of Film Studies and Korean Studies in the Department of Linguistics & German, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages and Global Studies in Arts and Humanities Program at Michigan State University. I enjoyed my time as faculty, teaching and researching. In VIPP, I still utilize my academic training and skill sets as an educator and researcher, while tapping into my creativity and entrepreneurial skills in developing innovative curriculum and program designs. I enjoy my versatile roles as an educator, advisor, practitioner, and representative of MSU and take pride in contributing to bridging MSU/Michigan population to the global communities. 

I also have a wide range of work experiences in advertising, public relations, print, film and media industries. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, camping, reading, and writing.

Dr. Yanjiang Teng, Program Assistant



Tel: (517) 432-3663


It is my great privilege to work with the fantastic international professionals. I assist the director in running the summer school program and help administer the VIPP short-term and long-term professional training programs. I joined VIPP in January 2019 for my Optional Practical Training after I completed my Ph.D. majoring in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education in the College of Education at Michigan State University.

My research mainly focuses on second language teacher education, English language learners' acculturation, university teaching pedagogy, and academic writing. I began my career as a faculty member in a Chinese university for both undergraduate and graduate students. Later, I went to the United Kingdom to further my studies and research, and subsequently came to teach Chinese in the U.S. I taught in K-12 settings for three years. Then, I pursued my doctorate degree at Michigan State University with a specialization in second language teacher education.

Living and working in multicultural settings have enhanced my sense of understanding the diversity issues related to international talents studying abroad. It is my honor to use my expertise to support our visitors to have an enjoyable and productive experience at VIPP.

I love calligraphy, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Joshua Weier, Office Assistant

joshprofile2.jpg  Tel. (517) 884-2170 weierjos(at) 

I began working with VIPP on January 16, 2017 and it is my first permanent job at MSU. I will be handling the needs of VIPP in many ways, including office support, clerical and technical work, and even as the first person many people see when they walk into our office.  Not only is coming to work for VIPP a good step for my career, it also has a fascinating background. Looking at different cultures and helping students from all over the world can be very interesting and rewarding work.

I first came to MSU campus in 2016 as an HR Office Services temp employee.  I’ve had the privilege of working in Lyman Briggs College and then MSU Food Stores.  After a few months Food Stores hired me as a Professional Aid, working for both the warehouse and the bakery.  

After high school I joined the US Marine Corps.  After a trip to the Mediterranean and Africa and then a tour in Iraq and Kuwait, I decided to leave once my four years were over.  I spent most of my time here in the US in North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, working as a Landing Support Specialist, which dealt in logistics.  Finally going back to school I received my BS in Business Administration from Kaplan University in 2012.  Feeling that I had a good amount of management and administration experience from the military and other jobs, I felt it was a good fit for a degree program.  

Outside of work, I’m a huge nerd, and love things like Star Wars and Star Trek, and I’m an avid gamer for both table top and PC games.  I have a daughter that has her heart set of attending University of Michigan, but I have a few years yet to convince her to change her mind.

Dr. Xinyu Wu, Director

xinyu side-by-side.jpgTel. (517) 884-2173

It is a great privilege to work as the Director of VIPP at Michigan State University. I am responsible for VIPP's long-term development strategy by providing leadership on all key areas including marketing, communication, program and partnership development, and VIPP advancement.

This is my first appointment in the U.S. after living and working in Europe for almost 25 years (until September 2015). I have extensive experience in International Education and worked as the Director of International Education Centers in a number of universities, including Bangor University and Middlesex University in the UK and the National University of Ireland Maynooth in Ireland.

I am a native Pekinger and trained as a computer scientist. I did my Ph.D in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Ulster, UK after obtaining a first-class honors degree in Applied Computing in Wuhan University, China.

Following a successful academic career in the UK, I moved to management in the area of International Education in 2000. Over the last 15 years, I developed a strong reputation in establishing and managing collaborative links with a large number of internationally reputable universities around the world. One of my recent and proudest achievements while working in Bangor University is the development of the University's Transnational Education strategy. I led the University's successfully launched overseas programs in China, Singapore, Tashkent, and Bahrain. We also launched a campus in China which now offers a range of undergraduate programs to more than 400 students after only two years in operation. I also played a key role in setting up the Welsh Summer Institute with Fulbright, which brings talented young Americans to Wales.

I have a successful track record in working with government agencies on large-scale research projects. During my time in Ireland, I served on the Irish University Association Board and led the alliance to successfully secure funding from government agencies to set up joint international research centers and incubations.

I enjoy music, dancing, and travel. I look forward to exploring the beautiful Michigan landscape and the U.S.

To learn more about me, check out our blog post.  

Lynn (Yi Zhou), Assistant Program Coordinator

Lynn Profile.jpg

Tel. (586)-383-4209


As of November 2018, I am the Assistant Program Coordinator for the Visiting International Professional Program (VIPP). I am honored to join our fantastic VIPP team of global talents. In this role, I am primarily responsible for administering VIPP long-term and short-term professional training programs to international professionals. 

I grew up in Beijing, China and then moved to the U.K. at 15. I completed my Bachelor’s in Mathematics with Statistics at Imperial College London. Before joining VIPP, I mainly taught in private and public K-12 settings in Beijing and Detroit. I am excited to work with experts from a variety of industries to exchange ideas and help our VIPP professionals achieve their career and academic goals while feeling at home at Michigan State University. I hope to use my multicultural personal and work experiences as an ambassador to promote more professional exchange opportunities through VIPP.

I love Michigan and enjoy kayaking and hiking in the beautiful summer.


Student Assistants

Olivia Dalby - Communications Intern

Joshua Bentley - Communications Intern