Kaneemozhe Harichandran Representing the International Students at the Congressional Briefing

“As international students, we give up our family, friends and everything that is known to us in our mother nations to come to a foreign land with new culture and values with a main and sole objective- to study, to acquire knowledge and gain a higher degree…. As we already go through many hardships to get a higher degree, making the VISA process more complicated adds to the burden on our shoulders.” – Kaneemozhe Harichandran

On Wednesday, March 13th, 2019, Kaneemozhe Harichandran, a Ph.D. student in our Microbiology and Immunology program, was invited to attend a congressional briefing to share her experience being an international student and to share about the importance of recruiting international talent to USA. Ms. Harichandran is from Tamil Nadu, India, and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology engineering in 2012. She came to the United States in the spring 2013 after she got accepted to our Master’s program in Microbiology and Immunology. After she graduated in spring 2014 with an M.S. in Microbiology and Immunology degree, she enrolled into our Ph.D. program in Microbiology and Immunology the following fall semester. Her research is to understand the replication of HDV. Understanding the viral life cycle is going to help in the discovery of drug targets and help treat the disease.

The speakers at the congressional briefing spoke about the current opportunities that are available for students from other nations in the United States compared to other nations such as Canada, Australia, South Korea, and many more. Additionally, they spoke about how international students training in the United States can increase the economic gain and jobs for American citizens. Ms. Harichandran was asked to join this panel to speak about her personal experience and challenges that she has faced during her time with us when she needed to go through the F1 renewal process, and to speak on behalf of the international student community about the challenges that they face in moving to a new country for higher education. With the experience that she had gained from talking to incoming students as an international ambassador for Georgetown University, she was of great help in answering their questions from an international student’s perspective. Through this experience of being an international ambassador, she also became aware of the various different challenges that students from different countries go through when moving to a new country with a different language, culture and social values. She hopes by sharing her story that she was able to bring light to one of the many problems that hundreds of competent, skilled, gifted students go through to acquire knowledge and training in the United States. 

“It was a great experience meeting and talking to congressional staff and house representatives. I was honored to represent Georgetown University and share my experience to benefit the international student community.” – Kaneemozhe Harichandran

Speakers at the Congressional Briefing

  • David DiMaria, Associate Vice Provost for International Education, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Heather Stewart, Counsel and Director of Immigration Policy, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Jon Baselice, Director, Immigration Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Sarah K. Spreitzer
Department of Government and Public Affairs
American Council on Education

Hanan Saab Associate
Director, International Policy
ffice of Congressional & Governmental Affairs
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities