International Studies & Programs

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VIPP Staff

Hosting close to 200 visitors annually, we understand what visiting professionals, their families, and their employers want and need. Our staff is committed to providing you positive MSU and American experiences. 

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 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.

Amy Butler, Program Coordinator

Amy Butler

Tel. (517) 884- 2179

I joined MSU as a Program Coordinator for the Visiting International Professional Program in May 2018. I design and develop both short-term and long-term programs for visiting international professionals and students and assure they have value added experience while at Michigan State University.

I earned my M.B.A. with concentrations in International Business and Management of Information Systems, as well as a B.A in biology from Oakland University (Michigan). 

I have served in leadership roles in energy, sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation. I have also mentored and coached entrepreneurs launching and growing their international businesses in energy, medical health, and information technology.  I have also partnered and collaborated with universities, governments, and corporations in advancing research to provide solutions to industry challenges.   

I have traveled internationally to multiple countries on trade and educational missions and been an invited international speaker on energy, entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development.  I am excited to be a part of the VIPP program where I can leverage my background to enhance the educational experiences of our international visiting professionals.

Outside of work I enjoy planting flowers and playing golf.  I also volunteer time in assisting entrepreneurs grow their businesses and am a certified health coach.  

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 hosts 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

kiwon side-by-side.jpg

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 been enjoying 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.

Dr. Mina Shin, Assistant Director

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

I am Assistant Director of Communications, Marketing and Outreach in the Visiting International Professional Program at Michigan State University. In this capacity, I am responsible for developing and managing the strategic communications, marketing, branding, and outreach initiatives for VIPP. I lead efforts to promote VIPP’s mission and vision, build VIPP’s reputation at MSU and beyond, and assist in recruiting efforts to attract more business opportunities.

I joined VIPP as a program coordinator in 2013 first. Since then, I have been in charge of many programs, including global short-term workshops for South Korean governments (Seoul Metropolitan Government, Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Ministry of Security and Public Administration) and long-term programs in the areas of telecommunication, TESOL, education, public service/ administration, and many others. 

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, developing and teaching a wide range of new film and culture courses and researching my field. 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, planner, manager, liaison, and representative of MSU in VIPP operations and take pride in contributing to bridging MSU/Michigan communities to the global communities. 

I also have a wide range of work experiences in advertising, public relations, print, film and media industries as a copywriter or a freelance writer. Reflecting my diverse educational and professional backgrounds, I am passionate about developing various training programs for international professionals in education, advertising, journalism, film, media, public service, and many others.

I am also committed to community outreach. I serve on the Cultural Diversity Advisory Committee in Okemos School District. I will continue contributing to the local community to prove my love for Michigan, where we are blessed with beautiful nature, kind people, and a safe environment. In my spare time, I enjoy camping with my family, outdoor activities, reading and writing.

Joshua Weier, Office Assistant

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

Starting at VIPP on January 16, 2017 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 gotten 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 deals 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, 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 a quarter of a century (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.  

Student Assistants

Melanie Ebeling - Communications Intern

Pyeongseon Oh - Student Assistant

Minwoo Lee - Student Assistant

Letian Tang - Student Assistant

Cheng Li - Student Assistant


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