OISS Staff

Meet the OISS Team!

G15 Thompson Hall

Leila Paje-Manalo

Elizabeth Webber


Thuy Nguyen

Sara Miller

John Deziel




Brittany Edgar

Eric Benevides

Kate Luksha

Zainab Qari

Melina Elwy

Leila Paje-Manalo, Ph.D., Director

Phone: (603) 862-3491

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact Leila Paje-Manalo

Leila obtained her Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees from the University of the Philippines and her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology (Virology) from Kansas State University. She was a Post-doctoral Research Associate in the UNH Department of Biochemistry prior to making a career change in 1991 to become an International Student Advisor at UNH. She was named Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars in 1995. Leila works with both students and scholars and is the primary contact for departments sponsoring international employees for U.S. permanent residence.



Elizabeth Webber, International Student & Scholar Advisor

Phone: (603) 862-1508

Fax: (603) 862-0844 

Email: Contact Elizabeth Webber

Elizabeth works with both F1 and J1 students handling advising and immigration matters.  She is interested in issues of international student integration and increased programming for the entire international population at UNH.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a MBA from Southern New Hampshire University.  Previously, Elizabeth worked as the International Student Advisor for UNH School of Law.  Elizabeth spent 10 years living in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  She enjoys lampworking and silversmithing in her spare time. 

Thuy Nguyen, International Student & Scholar Advisor

Phone: (603) 862-2287

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact Thuy Nguyen

Thuy is a native of Vietnam who immigrated to the US in 1975.  After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science in Textile Science, she started her professional job in UNH's Undergraduate Admissions, with International Admissions as a specialty.  Her job responsibilities and travels brought her to Asia, Europe and the Middle East.  Presently, she teaches ESL in Adult Education and works as an International Student Advisor in our office, assisting both F1 and J1 students.  Her personal and professional interests include assisting foreign-born nationals in learning the English language and American culture.  She is also currently finishing her Master's in Education at UNH.  When not working or studying, she can often be found enjoying some ethnic cuisine in local spots, practicing yoga and (only in good weather) biking with her husband.

Sara Miller, International Student & Scholar Advisor

Phone: (603) 862-1281

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact Sara Miller


John Deziel, International Scholar & Student Advisor

Phone: (603) 862-0086

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact John Deziel

John has worked and/or traveled in over 50 countries in Central America, Asia, North Africa, Eastern & Western Europe.  John received his Ed.M in Administration, Planning and Policy from Harvard University and has worked in the field of education for 25 years.  As an Adjunct Faculty of NHIA, John teaches Cultural Anthropology.  John recently received the NAFSA: Association of International Educators' 2011 James Leck Distinguished Services Award for the New England region, "in recognition of his significant contribution to international education."  John is the NAFSA NH State Representative and for several years served as NAFSA NH State WHIP on International Education legislative and policy issues.  John is a "Notary Public" and "Justice of the Peace."  John primarily works with H, J and TN visas for international faculty and scholars, as well as assisting F1 students and employees for US permanent residence.  John enjoys biking, kayaking and volunteering for a variety of community groups.

Brittany Edgar, Administrative Assistant

Phone: (603) 862-1288

Fax: (603) 862-0844 

Email: Contact Brittany Edgar

Brittany has been with the University of New Hampshire for almost 5 years, and joined the Office of International Students and Scholars in July of 2011. She is the first face you see upon entering the office, and assists in all the day-to-day administrative duties. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, with a minor in Human Resources, from Granite State College. Brittany also does a great deal of volunteer work, including co-chairing the auction committee at a small, private school in Somersworth. When Brittany is not in the office or busy with schoolwork and volunteer duties, she enjoys relaxing with her husband and their dog.



Eric Benevides, Information Technologist

Phone: (603) 862-0629

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact Eric Benevides

Eric is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and has over 12 years experience in the IT field.  Eric came to the OISS office in November 2010 after spending over 10 years working for the University of Rhode Island. He is responsible for managing and maintaining the international student database, as well as all other IT related business pertaining to the OISS office. When Eric is not behind a desk he prefers being outdoors and spending time with his friends and family.







Kate Luksha, Information Coordinator

Phone: (603) 862-5288

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact Kate Luksha

Kate is a graduate of UNH with a Bachelor of Arts in English.  After graduating, Kate spent three years in the Registrar’s office as a Registration assistant before joining the OISS team.  Now an Information Coordinator, Kate is responsible for ensuring that all of the international student data is current and accurate.  In her spare time, Kate enjoys reading and writing, and is a new graduate student in the MFA Fiction Writing Program at UNH.  A native of New England, she doesn’t mind the snow and is an avid snowboarder.





Zainab Qari, Programming Coordinator

Phone: (603) 862-5170

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact Zainab Qari

Zainab is the coordinator of International Programming for outreach and support to the UNH international students, scholars and their dependents.  She develops cross-cultural and immersion programs to facilitate their transition and integration into the campus and local communities.  She was born in Egypt, and then spent her childhood up to high school in Saudi Arabia. She received her Bachelor of Art and Science degree from Suffolk University, and studied Islamic art and architecture courses as well as Museum Studies at Harvard. Previously, she worked at Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University.  Zainab enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, as well as long strolls.

Melina Elwy, Employment Compliance Coordinator

Phone: (603) 862-5259

Fax: (603) 862-0844

Email: Contact Melina Elwy

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