About Our Team of Counselors

Each year 9 exceptional student leaders are selected to serve as an International Student Counselor. The International Student Counselors are dedicated to enhancing the international student experience at St. Olaf. International Student Counselors facilitate International Student Orientation and are a valued resource to incoming international students. Additionally, International Student Counselors provide interactive programs throughout the academic year to enhance internationalization on campus.

2020-2021 International Student Counselors:

Hi Oles!!!


I am Inna, a rising sophomore from Armenia, and I’ll be one of the International Counselors to welcome you to The Hill! 


I was born and raised in Yerevan. Since the first year of high school, my life became an adventurous roller coaster ride, taking me from Texas to Dilijan, leaving me with 2 graduations and unforgettable memories! As exciting as a 3rd high school diploma sounds, my ride brought me to St. Olaf! 


The first year of college is an important chapter for many of us, and just like you, I was nervous to begin the journey in a strange place, but the loving and caring community of St. Olaf was there to make sure I had a smooth transition into my new life. I hope my experience will enable me to assure the same for all of you and I’m happy to welcome you and be there throughout your journey!


I am currently pursuing Computer Science as my primary major and organizing an Individual Major with the Media Department called “Digital Media & Communication.” Besides my academics, I enjoy being part of the Student Activities Committee and occasional Choir classes. I also love just sitting with my friends outside of Buntrock Commons, drinking coffee, chatting, and waiting for the sunshine to return to the Hill. 


As the world is going through hard times, I understand starting a college life might be extra stressful, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to talk about the college, ask some tips for packing or just talk and share your concerns or thoughts. I love talking and I can be funny sometimes. 

You can email me at sahaky1@stolaf.edu, or contact me through Facebook or Instagram at Inna_sahakian. 


I can’t wait to meet Y’all!

Namaste everyone! I am Aryaman Joshi (or AJ), and I’m really looking forward to meeting y’all very soon!


I’m a rising sophomore and am double majoring in Mathematics and Music Composition, two subjects near and dear to me. I come from India, but I can’t specify where exactly because I’ve lived in many parts of the country. However, I introduce myself as being from Mumbai because that’s where most of my heart belongs. I did all my schooling in India’s central board, so St. Olaf College is my first international education experience! I’m eager to know how many of you guys would be experiencing that too! We shall have some fun talking about it!!


My first year on the hill was busy, musical, wholesome and most importantly, SUPER productive. Since St Olaf is such a musical college, I found myself being heavily involved in the music scene on campus. I’ve been part of the Viking chorus ensemble, performed in shows like the extravagant Christmas Fest and Omkara (an annual South Asian cultural fest by CSA), had my compositions performed in the music building, worked as a music recording engineer, composed background music for student filmmakers, worked as a musician in the dance department and just jammed around with a lot of people. That being said, I’d love to answer any questions regarding the music on campus, whether it be about the music major or just other general stuff.


Some random interests I have:

  • I love anime! As of May 2020, I’ve watched 169 of them. (Yes, I maintain a detailed record)
  • I’m really into languages, I taught myself Japanese and am trying my hand at Spanish. I also occasionally do a bit of conlanging (creating “conlangs” or “constructed-languages”)
  • I’m slowly diving deeper into the realm of fishkeeping! (To raise as pets, just to clarify. Guppies can’t really fill your stomach.)  
  • I like coming up with weird dishes to cook. We could share some whacky and broke ideas.


When you arrive on campus, you’d find me chilling at the library or hanging out in the art building (CAD). I might even take you for a walk in the vast and expansive St. Olaf natural lands! (Obviously, before winter shrouds everything)

Fun fact, I had decided to be an international counsellor the day I arrived on campus! My amazing counsellors were instrumental in forming my first college impressions. To know that I can help you guys have the best first experience in college fills me with great joy and elation. I’d love to talk to you about anything and get to know you! So feel free to hmu at joshi2@stolaf.edu


Good luck and enjoy your summer!



Hello, future Oles! My name is Hongye Lyu, which means “iridescent” in Chinese. You can also call me Judy. I will be your International Students Counselor for this coming year! I am super excited to meet you all this August!

I came from Chengdu, China, which is also the area where Pandas come from (Come and talk to me if you want me to share some secret facts about this cute animal). I am a rising senior majoring in Art History and Economics. I am interested in Art Business and curatorial affairs, hoping I could work for the museum or auction house one day! During my free time, I really enjoy visiting various museums, galleries, or any other special art exhibitions. I’m eager to record the artifacts on display and continue making my own photography profile of the artworks I’ve seen. 

I will work for the Rolvaag Library and Flaten Art Museum on campus for this following year. If you have any question about checking in/out books, library equipment, or gallery information, please let me know. I am willing to help you out!

As an international student, I can imagine all the difficulties you might encounter when you first come to St. Olaf. Therefore, I am here for you to better adjust life either in the states or at St. Olaf. If you have any questions or concerns or just want to chat with me, feel free to email me at lyu2@stolaf.edu or add me on Facebook @Hongye Lyu. Also, if you use Wechat, you could add me on it: my ID is lv15198188106. 

Can’t wait to see you all on the Hill! All best wishes with your life at St. Olaf!

Hi everyone, 


I’m Gisela and I’m very excited to be your counselor this coming year!


I’m a rising junior majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies. My home country is El Salvador, but I’m also part German. I am the youngest of four siblings and also out of all my cousins. I’ve spent most of my life back in El Salvador and only travelling a bit over the summers until, like you guys, I decided to come to Olaf!


I love spending time outdoors on campus when it’s not too cold and hanging out with my friends. I also enjoy playing intramural soccer with my teammates which, fun fact, we were undefeated this past year! I love to listen to music, dance, and sing. My favourite places on campus are Regents, the path leading down to Skoglund, and the Taylor Center.


I hope you’re all excited about your first year of college! I am looking forward to showing you guys my favourite places and more around campus. Most importantly, my goal is to help you and be a friendly face at St. Olaf that you can approach about literally anything. Let’s make the best out of this coming year together! You can always contact me by email at deneke1@stolaf.edu or add me on Facebook (Gisela Deneke) if you want to talk or have questions about the hill. 


Take care and I’ll see you soon!

Hey Everyone,


My name is Seth Mutenda and I am a rising Junior at St. Olaf College. I am so excited to be your International Counselor for the upcoming 2020-21 Academic Year. Allow me to give a little introduction about myself.


I am Japanese by nationality but my mother and father are from Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, respectively. I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and lived there for 17 years before coming to the United States. However, I spent about a year in Dallas, Texas when I was 3 and attended preschool and learned English there. After attending a Japanese preschool, I attended an American international school until I graduated from High School in 2018. 


I am majoring in Economics with an emphasis in Finance and a concentration (St. Olaf’s version of a minor) in Statistics & Data Science. I am part of the St. Olaf Cantorei Choir (one of the many singing ensembles on campus ) as well as a student-led Black Ensemble which is a singing group for the black students on campus. I was also on various intramural soccer and basketball teams and we won the championship for Intramural soccer. I love to listen to music, play sports and everything. My favourite parts of campus are Regents Hall and Holland Hall.


I am fondly looking forward to seeing you guys on campus in the fall and showing you all the amazing places on campus. Your first year will be a challenging yet amazing experience. Just know that I and the other counsellors are here to help you adjust to life in America even after your first week on campus. Please feel free to contact me by email (mutend1@stolaf.edu) or Facebook (Seth Mutenda). I am looking forward to getting to know you guys well!


Congratulations on graduating High School and taking this next big step to college and enjoy your summer!

Hi Everyone,


I’m Rida Ali from Pakistan. I’ll be a rising senior this coming year and I’ll be one of the International Counselors who are really excited to welcome you at St. Olaf.


To make it less awkward when you see me, let me give you some basic introduction to myself. If you have questions, I’m more than happy to answer and that’s what I’m here for :). I was born and raised in Pakistan and I finished all my education till High School in my hometown Rawalpindi, Pakistan and came to Minnesota for college.


I’m a Studio Arts major with Management Studies concentration. St. Olaf doesn’t have specific Architecture emphasis but with the available classes, my medium in Studio Arts is towards Architecture and Interior Design. I’m involved in many other co-curricular activities like student organizations as well as different departments including Student Government, Residence Life, Alumni and Parents Relation Office.


I am an extrovert, meeting people and getting to know them is what I love. I enjoy listening to music and cooking thus, know for the fact that you will be fed well if you’re around me. 


As an International Student, I can completely imagine the stress and uncertainty you all are going through. Just know that we are all in this together and we are here to help you. The first year of college is most important in many aspects and we wish to provide you with the best. Feel free to reach out to me on my email (ali4@stolaf.edu) or Facebook and Instagram (@rida9_ali). 


I look forward to seeing you all really soon and Welcome to a new chapter of your life. 

Hi everyone! Welcome to the Hill!

My name is Victoria and I love dogs (so much) and movies! I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I have a mother, an older brother, and a little dachshund named “Salchicha”. When I was 17 years old I moved to the Netherlands to finish my education and that’s how I came across St. Olaf! 

Since my first year, I have changed majors 3 times, but I am currently hoping to finish my 4 years with a double major in Political Science and Sociology/Anthropology. I am fascinated by the combination of both fields, and so I have decided to apply for Masters programmes after St. Olaf that would expand on my interests and better prepare me. When I’m not doing school-related things, I enjoy hanging out with my friends by sitting at the Cage or cooking together. I also appreciate having some alone time where I get to watch really silly tv shows that no one else would watch with me.

On-campus, I have held several student employment positions and so I can help you navigate that process if you’d like! I’ve worked in Admissions, Stav Hall, CAAS, CURI, and naturally, the Taylor Center. Next year, I will be a Supplemental Instructor for Writing 107, as well as a Research and Writing Tutor, and I will be working on two research projects with CAAS faculty and a professor. Again, I’m here to answer any questions!

I can’t wait to get to know you all and see you grow over the year! I’ll do my best to help you make the best out of your first year at St Olaf, whether it’s surrounding academics, social life, navigating resources, or just to be a listening ear! 

You are probably very stressed right now considering all uncertainties additional to the usual stress of packing, visa, and goodbyes that come with leaving a place to go to a new one. I just want to remind you that it is okay if you do! You are allowed to be! And if there’s anything you want to talk about that I could be of use for, feel free to reach out to me! Take care and stay safe and healthy! 

You may reach me through email (gutier3@stolaf.edu) or Facebook (gutierrezpereira or Victoria Gutierrez Pereira). Looking forward to meeting you!

Hello!! I’m Margret and I’m really excited to get to know all of you!


I’m from Wilmington, North Carolina. However, I’ve lived overseas my whole life since my parents are international educators. I was born in Vienna, Austria then moved to Rabat, Morocco, and then moved to Dubai, the U.A.E, then moved to Quito, Ecuador, then moved to Dakar, Senegal, and finally moved to Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E. before coming to St. Olaf! 

I am a rising senior and I am double majoring in Sociology/Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies, with a concentration in Environmental Studies. I play on St. Olaf’s club women’s rugby team, and am also the president of the club! Other than rugby, my hobbies include knitting, embroidering, other random crafts, singing, and watching movies. My favourite animated movies are Shrek, Ratatouille, and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. I also love Midsommar and other thriller/horror movies!

Please feel free to email me (embors@stolaf.edu) and ask me any questions, concerns, or just chat with me about Shrek! I can’t wait to meet you all!

Sanibonani Nonkhe (hello everyone)!

My name is Mancoba Dlamini (MaQ). I am a rising sophomore and am very excited to interact with you soon!


I am from the Kingdom of ESwatini, formerly known as Swaziland. I intend to major in Environmental Studies and something else that will peak my interest while at Olaf. I am a UWC alumni from Waterford Kamhlaba in ESwatini and very happy to have an international education again. St Olaf was way more than I expected in the best of ways. I found myself integrating well, learning new things, unlearning a lot of things, rediscovering myself and constantly improving myself in so many ways. I am very interested in helping incoming students do the same, if not better. I am comfortable answering your questions on financial aid, social life at Olaf and sporting activities


Some random facts

  • I have seen all Pink Panther movies
  • I love comedy and goofy movies
  • I love and play soccer
  • I think I can dance
  • I might be into fashion a bit :)


Please feel free to email me (dlamin1@stolaf.edu) and ask me any questions, concerns! I wish you the best as you prepare to come to St Olaf!

Recent Blog Posts

Check out our Pre-Arrival Blogs written by the counselors above.