Care and Advocacy Team

The Care and Advocacy Team (CAT) is dedicated to providing culturally-appropriate support services to international students.

CAT helps international students access Missouri State resources including:

  • mental health support,

  • bias prevention,

  • community connection, and

  • other university resources for your support and safety at Missouri State University.

Contact us at or find us on Instagram at @CATMSU.

For students

We're here to help you navigate university and community resources. Contact us with questions about mental and emotional health, academic issues, bias prevention, and more. We will help you connect with the appropriate resource and provide the support you need to succeed.

For university and community resources

We are strong advocates of international student needs to our university colleagues and community members. Contact us with questions about culturally-appropriate support services and international student needs.

Meet our team

Our team consists of staff and graduate assistants in International Programs. We're dedicated to ensuring international students access the help and connections they need.

Daezia C. Smith

Smith serves as the Leadership Programs Specialist in International Programs and coordinates the Global Leaders and Mentors Program, helping new international students make valuable and lasting connections at Missouri State.

Patrick M. Parnell

Parnell leads the Office of International Services, responsible for international student admissions, immigration support, and more. His passion for cultural exchange began in high school and led to a career in international education.

Jinzi Fan

Fan develops, implements, and facilitates international education and leadership training programs. She dedicates her effort into the Public Affairs mission and focuses on academic, practical, and cultural experiences of international students.

Ayesha A. Farooq

Farooq lives by "kindness costs nothing, yet those who possess it are among the richest." She is a proud Muslim woman and Indian who wants to see people at peace around her. She is completing a graduate program in Biology.

Claudia Chiari Ferreira De Souza

Chiari Ferreira is a graduate student from Brazil who works on collaborative projects with Missouri State's university partners in Brazil. As a prospective Clinical Counselor, she is passionate about diversity and inclusion.

Xiao'ou Gong

Gong's past roles in China Programs and International Programs give him a unique perspective in his current role in the College of Business, where he supports international students from China studying at Missouri State.

Dandan Liu

Dandan Liu

Director, Office of China Programs

Liu began her Missouri State career at the Dalian, China campus in 2005. Now she's the liaison between Missouri State and Chinese partners to ensure Chinese students cross cultural barriers and accomplish their academic and cultural exchange goals.

Paula M. Moore

Paula M. Moore

Executive Director, English Language Institute

Moore leads ELI Special Programs to further university outreach initiatives, create innovative programs that highlight the university's Public Affairs mission, and partner with International Programs teams to achieve long-term strategic goals.

Niyati Sethi

Sethi is a graduate student in Religious Studies from New Delhi, India. She recognizes a gap in resources provided for international students at Missouri State and joins the team to create a safe space for other international students.

Yen T. Tran

Tran welcomes and supports students from Vietnam as a graduate in the Office of International Programs. Her passion for providing a welcoming atmosphere for other international students is apparent in her efforts.

Darren E. Young

Young has served Missouri State for over 20 years and found his passion in serving international students. As advisor to multiple international student organizations, he works closely with international student leaders to promote cultural exchange.