What is CISI?

Carnegie International Students Institute (CISI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in PA, U.S. federal tax IRS certified and supported by many Carnegie Mellon University alumni. CISI is committed to helping international students better in Study, work and live in the United States.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it will serve every international student who wants to help without discrimination. CISI will play the role of the guardian of international students in the American society and be the strongest voice for international students. CISI will also be committed to providing free school selection counseling, scholarship application guidance, internship and employment advice for international students, and using technological means to break the barriers of information asymmetry and language barriers, and spread more knowledge about studying in the United States.

Borad Members

Pengxuan Chen

Pengxuan grew up in Shanghai and went to the United States for her master's degree. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, she started her career as a civil engineer. Her passion for construction and technology led her to her current role as a software product manager at Bentley Systems, Inc., with a focus on SYNCHRO, Bentley's construction project management solutions. As a former international student herself, Pengxuan understands the challenges of living and studying overseas. She aspires to lead in her capacity as President and continues to contribute to the international student community with her fellow colleagues at CISI.

Weili Xu

Weili is a lifelong learner and traveler. He has always been fascinated by different cultures and ways of life, so when the opportunity to study abroad presented itself, he jumped at the chance. Although it was a rewarding and life-changing journey, studying abroad comes with its own set of challenges. Having seen and experienced numerous hardships, Weili is strongly motivated to help every international student to get the best out of this extraordinary journey. Weili graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017 and currently serves as the secretary of the CISI.

Ling Almoubayyed

Seeking an academic degree in a foreign country could be exciting but difficult and frustrating at times. As a first-generation immigrant, Ling Almoubayyed hopes to help international students transition to the US easier and more pleasant and becomes a resource for those who need guidance and mentorship. Ling holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in urban design from Carnegie Mellon University. She currently works for SmithGroup as Project Architect.

Why Founded CISI?

According to OpenDoors®, there were 914,000 international students in the United States in 2020–2021, a decrease of nearly 15% from the previous year. The decreasing trend seems to have started to take shape a few years ago. Since 2014, the annual growth rate of the number of foreign students attending American universities has been declining. The overall number of international students enrolled in academic programs across the country reached a high of 1.095 million in 2018–19, before sharply declining from 2019 to 2021.

Before the Biden-Harris administration, the U.S. government developed a number of laws and initiatives to restrict F1 visas, OPT, and H1B visas under the influence of the “anti-globalization” doctrine. Since the new administration’s inception, it has been devoted to fostering a more open and inclusive immigration system, and it has reversed many unfavorable immigration regulations implemented by the previous administration.

However, under the shroud of the pandemic, populism, racial discrimination, crimes against Asians and a series of prominent problems in American society seem to have weakened the willingness of foreigners to study in the United States.

There should be organizations in American culture that speak out for the sizable number of international students and fight for more rights, in addition to the fact that the government should be more sensitive of them in terms of the policy. CISI was founded in such a large atmosphere. As a non-profit, it will assist all foreign students who need assistance and serve as their most powerful advocate.