Southern honors outstanding international student

Myriam Gharbi-Palmer

Myriam Gharbi-Palmer

In January 2003 international students at Missouri Southern faced the challenge of income taxes.

When Dr. James Shaver, professor of business, died, there was no one at Missouri Southern who could assist the international students in completing their income taxes.

Not filing income taxes, or doing them wrong, could prevent an international student from attaining citizenship or a work visa. International income taxes also require more information than regular income taxes because of the treaty information specific for each country.

Myriam Gharbi-Palmer, senior bachelor of education major, was one of the international students who would have to file income taxes.

“We (the international students) were on our own,” Gharbi-Palmer said. “Americans already have problems doing taxes. How could you expect an international student to know what to do?”

Gharbi-Palmer decided to try and help herself, as well as the other international students. She took it upon herself to contact Judy Todd at the University of Missouri-Columbia to find out what information was needed to file the international income taxes.

Deb Gipson, coordinator of student housing, also assisted in finding out the necessary information to prepare the taxes.

“Without Judy or Deb, I could not have helped anyone,” Gharbi-Palmer said.

Of the more than 100 international students at Missouri Southern, Gharbi-Palmer helped more than 20 international students file their income taxes.

“Myriam literally saved the day,” said Stephanie Goad, international student adviser.

“She took the baton from Dr. Shaver and ran with it.”

This year when it came time to choose an Outstanding International Student to represent Missouri Southern, Gharbi-Palmer was the obvious choice. Goad, who was responsible for the nomination of an international student for the award, believed Gharbi-Palmer deserved the award.

“I am proud of all of our International Students, and Myraim really stood out,” Goad said.

On Dec. 2, Gharbi-Palmer joined 188 other international students from Missouri at the fifth annual Governor’s International Student Day in Jefferson City. Gharbi-Palmer was one of three chosen to represent the state. She presented a speech and met Gov. Bob Holden.

“I think he liked my speech, he was laughing when I made a joke,” Gharbi-Palmer said.

She is currently a student teacher at Carl Junction High School. She will graduate in December with her bachelor of education degree.