The MU International Engagement Awards recognize the outstanding work carried out by faculty, staff and students to internationalize the University of Missouri. A CII subcommittee evaluates nominations and determine awardees across three categories:
The awards recognize meaningful and sustained commitments to international work, whether directly on campus or brought back to the campus from an engagement abroad. In order to demonstrate their effect upon internationalizing the campus, nominees must clearly indicate the concrete impact made upon scholarship, students or MU programs by their international work.
Additional details are available in the most recent call for nominations.
Guo "Shawric" Xiaoyu is a graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in industrial management in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering. Xiaoyu is also the chairman of the MU Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars, an office he has held since 2010. Xiaoyu has demonstrated admirable leadership and guidance for this growing community. His role as ambassador for the Chinese community was particularly evident in the wake of tragedy. In 2011, two visiting scholars from China drowned while vacationing in Branson, and this January, a visiting doctoral student research, Kui Zou, was killed in a collision with a vehicle while crossing Providence Road. In the wake of these tragedies, Xiaoyu worked tirelessly to organize logistics for the families, meetings with administration and critical support with a spirit of calm, steady compassion. David Currey wrote, "Xiaoyu has consistently demonstrated that international engagement often requires personal sacrifice... Xiaoyu epitomizes the best qualities of leadership that all of us at the University of Missouri value and strive for."
Many who know Copeland will have heard her say, "We want to make a difference, one person, one program at a time." And in nearly 30 years of service to MU, she has indeed made a difference in the lives of many, many faculty, staff, students, trainees, partners and countless beneficiaries of overseas expert assistance and training. Copeland is responsible for managing the programmatic and administrative aspects of multiple projects with a budget in excess of $20 million. The projects include grants and agreements provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Services and the United States Agency for International Development, as well as the international nongovernemntal organization University of Missouri Assistance Program, which has offices in Kenya and Ghana. Jerry Nelson wrote, "In Ghana, I saw firsthand how this remarkable person works on complex problems through knowledge about university policies, regulations from funders and how to win the respect of others... Rarely does a staff member rise to such a level of responsibility, leadership and grantsmanship."
Copeland's attention to detail goes beyond policies and funding, she is known for her attention to personal details as well. Her recommenders include students that Copeland invited to work with her on hosting events for the USDA's World Food Prize. They wrote, "Christy is a leader who cares more about the success of the students she meets and the international programs she helps organize than receiving recognition... Christy includes students in important projects to give them hands-on experience... From the beginning conversations and cross-country conference calls, Christy entrusted use with the authority to make decisions and contribute to the team, while applauding us in front of our USDA teammates in Washington, D.C. She has shown us constant support, putting in the extra time to train us when she could have easily finished tasks without our help... Christy's humble motivation comes across in her loyal relationships with her co-workers, her ability to resolve conflict and counsel during difficult situations, and the long-lasting partnerships she holds across the world."
Dr. Sanjeev Khanna serves as the director of the Energy Solutions and Research Center, assistant director of the Missouri Industrial Assessment Center and special assistant to the dean for Engineering Technology Programs. Khanna has helped to establish several international research collaborations. He has been a champion in establishing 2+2 programs with universities in India, where students enroll for their first two years in India and their last two years at MU. Khanna initiated and established the first study abroad program for engineering students from India to come to MU for a three-week summer workshop. Khanna utilizes an innovative teaching methodology called problem-based learning and has trained more than 50 faculty in this relatively new and effective method. This train-the-trainer approach is helping create rapid change and effective teaching in Iraq by training the trainers. Khanna has been the keynote speaker at many international conferences. In 2014, he co-organized the International Conference on Multifunctional Materials, Structures and Applications, and has works with partners at Motilal Behru National Institute of Technology to establish this as a biennial event. Dr. Yuwen Zhang wrote that Khanna "has relentlessly pursued and established international collaborations over the last few years. He has disseminated his innovative teaching methodology among international faculty, helped develop engineering curriculum in contemporary subjects and established research collaborations at universities abroad, and helped recruit and mentor international engineering students both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Khanna's contributions to the internationalization of MU and the College of Engineering in particular are exemplary."
Eva Szekely is first violinist in the Esterhazy Quartet, an ensemble-in-residence in the School of Music. She is an artist, teach and musical ambassador who has performed in nine countries on three continents. Szekely is a member and leader in the Missouri Partners of the Americas, a national volunteer organization that builds partnerships between the hemispheres in all fields of study. Szekely began traveling to Belém, Brazil, to perform and teach violin early in her career. She helped to establish an ongoing exchange of published music, a rare and expensive commodity for students of the region.
Szekely was instrumental in the development of partnerships with three of the leading institutions of higher education in Brazil. Jo Ella Todd wrote, "To date, Eva has made 46 trips to Brazil, secured residencies at MU for 28 visiting scholars from the Carlos Gomes Foundation/Teatro da Paz (Theater of Peace) in Belém, assisted 26 students from the Carlos Gomes Foundation to come to MU where they have secured degrees including undergraduate, graduate and doctorate. Eva also worked to achieve educational and cultural exchanges for 20 professors from MU to teach and perform in Brazil for a total of 86 trips... While on these exchange trips and during all this work on behalf of her MU colleagues, Eva has her own rehearsals, master classes, individual lessons, orchestral, solo and chamber music concerts to prepare and present. Imagine doing this 86 times for your colleagues! Now, consider all the work she has done to assist the 28 visiting scholars and the 26 full-time Brazilian students... In all these exchanges, Eva was the force that made everything happen. Her tireless efforts on behalf of MU faculty, as well as of visiting faculty and students, often made the impossible possible."
Dr. Barbara Williamson's interest in working with international students began during her undergraduate studies, when she was asked to tutor a student from Iran in English. Since then, she has made substantial contributions to internationalization. In her role as associate director of the Coalition for Cultural Competence, Williamson helped to craft a partnership agreement with National Taiwan Normal University that established a dual-degree master's program in counseling psychology and a 3+2 degree program. Williamson has provided orientation for these students, as well as support for dealing with culture shock, language difficulties and other challenges. She also has a large coordinating role in the Cross-Cultural Immersion Programs, where students from MU and NTNU spend 10 days in the partner country. During three years, she has single-handedly identified host families for more than 60 NTNU students and faculty, providing a home-based experience for encountering a different culture for the first time. Williamson is known for cultivating dialogue on sensitive cultural issues. She thoughtfully integrates the constructs of worldview and privilege in her courses. She helps students become more cross-culturally aware and open in an atmosphere that is both challenging and supportive. One of Williamson's former students, Dr. Geetike Agarwal wrote, "While her expertise in the area of consultation is unmatched, she was personally vested in making the information relevant and meaningful to all students... On a more personal note, on occasion, I would spend time talking about my culture, challenges and difficulties I faced adjusting to the new society and what I missed about India in the United States. As an international student, I will always be thankful to Dr. Williamson for laying her faith and confidence in my skills. She was the sounding board I needed to overcome the challenges I faced during my time at the university."
Landon Krantz has a passion for global health and responsible development. In his first year of medical school, he organized the logistics for the annual SIGHT trip to rural Mexico. He was elected president of SIGHT, and under his leadership the membership of SIGHT grew from around 12 students to 202 members and they created a mission statement, "to prepare future physicians at the University of Missouri School of Medicine for a career that incorporates the best practices of effective global health care." In response to student interest, the SIGHT team created a website with resources to connect MU students with global health rotations. Landon also fostered expansions in SIGHT's teaching opportunities; this year the lecture series included five presentations on topics from refugee health in Columbia to how to work with foreign health infrastructures. SIGHT has also expanded its Spanish Medical Class. Landon’s most tireless efforts have been toward establishing a partnership with Universidad Nacional de Nicaragua in Leon. Meryl Sundy, one of his fellow students, says in her recommendation letter, "By establishing an official partnership with the medical school in Nicaragua, Landon has created a structure that allows for stronger educational opportunities for MU students as well as the medical students abroad. I can think of no more socially responsible way to support global health than to further the education of the host nation’s own future physicians."
Jonathon Marquart is an undergraduate student in the Trulaske College of Business, TCOB's China study abroad program student manger, and the Chinese Language and Culture Association's social activities coordinator. His life changed with a study abroad trip to China in 2012. Timothy Cunningham, one of the leaders of the trip, notes, "Jon showed strong leadership and a desire to be fully immersed in the Chinese culture." Jon brought his passion for China back to campus. He became the student manager for TCOB's China study abroad program and has become extensively involved in Chinese-related organizations on campus such as the China Business Student Association. He also organized several outings for the Chinese community, including a trip to the Missouri Capitol and a Chinese business etiquette dinner to prepare MBA students to do business in China. Jon is working with a student group on a documentary film, "China: A Life-Changing Adventure," telling the personal stories of several professors and students who have done internships in China.
Wen Ouyang came to MU to earn her Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis and began working for the Office of the Vice Provost for International Programs in 2006. Ouyang was the driving force behind the establishment of a Confucius Institute at MU, providing Chinese language and cultural resources for Columbia Public Schools, Columbia Independent School and the community as a whole. She is an excellent teacher and has taught more than 2,700 hours voluntarily to students at MU and Columbia area schools on Chinese language, culture and history. She was also selected to write an online Chinese curriculum for students nationwide. To quote Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton, "Dr. Ouyang’s constructive vision and ability for developing cultural exchanges and cooperative programs between MU and many other countries from multiple aspects are notable. Her extensive cross-cultural administrative and teaching experiences and talents are invaluable asset to MU’s internationalization and globalization."
Chuck Franz had a vision to develop unique short-term faculty-led study abroad experiences tailored for business students. In an innovative and entrepreneurial move, he created a program model where student managers who participated in a trip the year prior work to administer the program the following year, providing opportunities for tremendous professional and personal growth. As a result, in less than ten years, Franz's passion and leadership have led to nearly 2,000 students, 30 faculty members and 10 staff members participating in study abroad programs through the Trulaske College of Business. For developing an innovative approach for study abroad, cultivating numerous international partnerships, mentoring student managers and expanding the global mindset of thousands of students, the Council on International Initiatives is proud to recognize Dr. Chuck Franz.
Mary Simon Leuci is a leader in the internationalization of MU Extension. Her passion for community development lead her to co-found MU’s Community Development Academy in 1996. This program expanded the understanding of development for faculty and international participants alike. Leuci helped to create a Community Development Academy in South Africa. In 2000, she worked to establish a three year exchange program with partners in Ireland, which led to several restorative justice programs in Missouri. Building on her success, Leuci raised grant funding for several projects and worked on a series of successful joint webinars with partners at the University of Western Cape. Mark Linit summarized it well, "Dr. Leuci is at the forefront of international programing for MU Extension through her direct involvement in activities abroad or through her efforts to involve others. The latter effort results in new faculty expertise and hence a new cohort of faculty leaders for international engagement. Dr. Leuci has helped to change the face of extension programming at MU and is truly deserving of the recognition that his award bestows."
John Criswell joined the Navy at 17 – to see the world. In six years of service, he traveled and lived in places such as Scotland, Naples, Pompeii and Morocco. He returned to Missouri to pursue higher education and while here, discovered that, with so many international students, staff and faculty it is not necessasry to travel to encounter the richness of cultural diversity. As a doctoral student, he has devoted much attention to international students. His research seeks to better measure the international dimensions of campus climate, with his dissertation examining how faculty members accommodate the needs and abilities of international students in the classroom. He is currently studying Mandarin and he hopes one day to live and teach in China.
Mike is a graduate of the MU School of Journalism. In his current position, he is developing multimedia content to promote research, teaching and public service for CAFNR. However, he came to Mizzou as a Peace Corps veteran and a Peace Corps Fellow. Serving in Mongolia, Mike taught English and helped to build the country’s equivalent to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization. At Mizzou, he has served as the campus Peace Corps recruiter and co-taught a course in the School of Journalism called “When East meets West” to enhance cultural intelligence. Mike is also responsible for the Third Goal Peace Corps Film Festival on campus.
Professor Gilles has a distinguished record of service at MU. He has led research projects and technical assistance projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Throughout his career, Gilles has been dedicated to international scholarship. As a young man, he left Montana to direct enroll in a French university so he could learn the language and later used those skills as he served in the Peace Corps in Africa. At Missouri he has mentored many American and international students interested in topics such as economic development, the sociology of natural resources, climate change mitigation and agricultural innovation. After working in Francophone countries for many years, Gilles decided to learn Spanish and is now able to live, work and lecture fluently in Spanish-speaking regions. He developed very successful study abroad opportunities for students in Costa Rica and recently completed an extended Fulbright award in Bolivia, where he maintains strong professional ties and responsibilities.
Angellar Manguvo has committed herself to enhancing the academic and social welfare of international students through service and research. She serves as treasurer for the Missouri International Student Council and co-edited the MU International Student Survival Guide. She also serves as treasurer for the Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students, where she’s worked to foster unity among native-born, African and Afro-Caribbean black students through open dialogue. She served as a member of the Educational School and Counseling Psychology Campus Climate Committee, and of the African Student Association. Manguvo's research publications and presentations also contribute to MU’s internationalization. She has published recent papers on the role of volunteerism on social integration of African international students at a Midwestern university and on self-presentation of African international students at a Midwestern university, for which she has won multiple awards. Her dissertation topic is on the relationship between ethnic identity, perceived acceptance and cultural adjustment of sub-Saharan African international students in the United States.
Jill Ford has served in a number of key staff roles for the College of Engineering. In fall 2009, Jill developed the college's Peer Mentoring Program to address the needs of students as they make the transition from China to Columbia. Through the development of multicultural programming for American and international students, Ford is fostering a positive environment for international students and facilitating multicultural growth. Peer Mentoring Program events include activities such as touring the state capitol and meeting with Representative Chris Kelly, traveling to Hannibal, Mo., and touring the Mark Twain Museum, attending MU football and basketball games, and offering driving safety programs. In addition to developing the Peer Mentoring Program, Ford has also traveled to China and India to recruit international students and strengthen relationships with partner universities.
Dr. Xinhua Zhuang is widely regarded as an international leader by his peers and has worked to internationalize MU by establishing key educational relationships with outstanding Chinese universities. Zhuang’s effort has resulted in 129 students from more than ten universities in China and he has been personally involved in developing the mentoring program for international students in the College of Engineering. The program's goal is to sufficiently expose international students to western culture, so that the essence of democracy, freedom and human rights might be carried with these students when they return to China. Based on the success of his international engagement in both research and higher education, Zhuang has now been moving into a new arena that further bridges federal research and industrial collaborations between the U.S. and China. A delegation from MU consisting of the dean and department chairs will travel to China this summer to explore the feasibility of this new platform.
Dr. Puncky Heppner is known for being one of the most prolific researchers in the profession of counseling psychology. His scholarship in problem-solving strategies and career decision making, in particular, has gained tremendous attention among international scholars. His Problem Solving Inventory (PSI), for example, has been translated into many languages and remains a significant tool in problem-solving research. He has been invited by numerous international ministries, associations and universities to speak. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Sweden, Ireland, Taiwan and Italy. Beyond his research accomplishments, Heppner is recognized for his passion to provide guidance for the globalization of counseling psychology. At the institutional level, Heppner is instrumental in increasing the international student representation in counseling psychology programs, as well as promoting the globalization vision of counseling psychology beyond the United States.
Patricia Vewenda-Mabengo's ties to both Mizzou and to Africa run deep. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Vewenda-Mabengo and her family moved to Columbia when she was eight years old so that her father could pursue a master's degree in agricultural economics. Now an MU student herself, she is a completing her bachelor's degree in international studies with an emphasis in peace studies. As president of the African Student Association she has "worked to internationalize the MU campus by elevating students' and the campus community’s perception of Africans and demonstrating different aspects of African beauty, intellect and grace." To that end, Vewenda-Mabengo founded the Miss Africa Mizzou pageant, and skillfully organized other ASA events such as the MU African Gala Extravaganza, Un-silence the Congo, Taste of Africa and Africa Week. After graduating, she hopes to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer and eventually to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to help build and work on rehabilitation programs for rape victims.
Pursuing a double-major in psychology and communication, MU undergraduate Yuan Tian is no stranger to multi-tasking. Since coming to MU she has regularly volunteered for several organizations benefitting MU's international community, including the International Center's new international student orientation. Most recently, Tian was elected to serve as president of the Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars. In this capacity, she has been responsible for organizing services for MU's growing Chinese community — such as providing transportation for newly arriving Chinese students — and also for coordinating FACSS participation in campus events that showcase Chinese culture and talent. As executive producer for the 2011 MU China Night, she devoted considerable time to helping share Chinese culture with our campus and community.
Jake Halliday has furthered the internationalization of the University of Missouri through his work establishing an international reputation for the university's business incubator. In 2010 Halliday succeeded in achieving international incubator designation for the university's business incubator, an award recognizing incubators that offer specialized programs for serving young companies moving from overseas into the incubator's domestic market. Halliday has also developed a sister incubator relationship with Bio-City Nottingham, one of Europe's leading business incubators. Finally, through his "high growth ventures" class in the MBA program of MU’s Trulaske College of Business, he has supported the participation and success by MU students in prestigious international business plan competitions.
Throughout his career, Dr. John Miles Foley has been crossing borders — disciplinary as well as cultural — to further scholarship on "the oldest and the newest of humankind's communicative technologies, oral tradition and the Internet." In 1986 he founded the Center for Oral Tradition, whose 25-year mission has been to create an international forum for exchange. The corresponding journal, Oral Tradition, established the same year, has since published more than 500 articles examining more than 100 traditions worldwide, reaching an estimated annual readership of 20,000 in more than 200 countries. Foley has developed a series of courses that emphasize international connections, including a seminar on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage program, and has taught three languages — ancient Greek, Anglo-Saxon, and South Slavic. In 1995 the CSOT finalized an agreement, ratified by the Missouri Legislature, with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to pursue joint projects. In 1996 he established at MU the Center for eResearch, promoting multidisciplinary research on digital and Internet initiatives. In the words of one colleague, beyond his extensive international resume, most impressive is the extent to which Foley "nurtures long-term international relations." Another nominator lauds Foley's "willingness to listen and form mutual and enduring relationships with colleagues all over the world, drawing them into mutual communication and enthusiasm." Through his scholarship, academic leadership and collegiality, Foley has not only brought the world’s oral traditions to Missouri, he has established himself and MU as an internationally recognized leader in the field of oral traditions.
Dr. Joe Hobbs’ commitment to an international perspective is apparent in his long record scholarship and service to the University of Missouri. Much of his career has been dedicated to researching and traveling to the Middle East, where he has explored topics including Bedouin herdsman, cave morphology and drug cultivation. More recently, he has become a tireless champion of MU’s emerging initiatives in Vietnam. Hobbs currently serves as director of MU’s Vietnam Institute, whose primary mission is to develop education and research exchanges with Vietnam. He notes that since beginning his work with colleagues through MU’s Vietnam Initiatives Group in 2006, and continuing with the Vietnam Institute, the number of Vietnamese students at MU has grown from 12 to 57. He has served in a consultative capacity on numerous occasions in Vietnam, sharing expertise on education and curriculum reform, as well as core research skills and practices. Hobbs has recently been awarded a place on the prestigious Fulbright Specialist Program roster in the category of international education specialists available to work in Vietnam.
A promising scholar in his field, Ahmed Ibrahim's doctoral research itself has global relevance, addressing the important issue of structural design in stressful environments such as earthquakes. As a student at MU, Ibrahim has played an active role in internationalizing the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In April 2008, he was selected as part of a team of three professors and three graduate students to evaluate the condition of school and university buildings that were severely damaged by the August 2007 earthquake in Peru. This University of Missouri team was selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Ibrahim also helped establish a link between MU and Zagazig University in Egypt. As a result of his efforts, two Egyptian scholars are currently visiting MU for two years, and two MU professors and the dean of engineering will visit Zagazig in the near future. According to his adviser, Dr. Hani A. Salim, Ibrahim's efforts alone were the reason for establishing this successful international link, which could lead to additional collaborations with other universities in Egypt.
Rebecca Brandt has worked in international admissions at the University of Missouri for the last 26 years — developing nationally recognized expertise on processing applications for international students, assisting graduate departments with evaluation credentials and evaluating transfer credit for domestic students returning from study abroad programs. Recently, she has taken on two additional and very significant projects. The first of these involves her recruitment efforts in Korea, which she does in cooperation with the MU Asian Affairs Center and which have taken her on four trips to South Korea for the purpose of increasing the number of Korean students who attend MU. Brandt has additionally taken under her wing a number of Korean and Chinese interns in her office — providing them with meaningful work experiences that further introduce them to the American higher education system. In his letter supporting her nomination, director of the MU Asian Affairs Center Sang Kim commends Brandt's ability "to turn her knowledge in international admissions to cross-cultural understanding and diplomacy" as she interacts with various local partners, MU alums and prospective students and parents.
Patricia Smith has been the managing editor of the quarterly magazine Global Journalist for eight years, and serves as the editor and director of the Global Journalist website. The hard copy quarterly is circulated in more than 120 countries throughout the world to editors, publishers and leading journalists. The online version is available wherever the Internet exists and contains not only material from the hard copy edition but also fresh material about the news business throughout the world that is updated weekly. In his nomination letter, MU professor Stuart H. Loory explains that Smith "carries out her work by co-teaching a class each semester (summer included) in which students produce the magazine and website. Consequently, her internationalization work stretches in two directions. First, she plays a key role in making the university known worldwide as a force in international journalism. Second, she introduces students to the need for thorough, responsible, truthful journalism in all nations and helps to cultivate in those students the need and desire to reach out to other countries." Among her many additional areas of international service, Smith also directed and taught the School of Journalism's London program in summer 2006, and is currently co-chair of the North American Committee of the International Press Institute and a member of the international board of directors of the IPI. She also works closely with the leaders of the InterAmerican Press Association and the World Association of Newspapers.
Dr. Béa Gallimore was nominated for this award by her department chair, Dr. Flore Zephir. In her nomination letter, Zephir cites the numerous international initiatives in which Gallimore has been involved, her unwavering commitment to internationalizing our campus and the benefits of her initiatives to MU faculty and students. According to Zephir, Gallimore can be credited for having built the Francophone area studies in her department, as well as the accompanying library collection in her field. The African Francophone specialization has attracted several graduate students from Congo, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. In 2002, Gallimore established a second area of academic expertise in genocide studies. Subsequently, she published several articles about gender and genocide, and about women and conflict, and co-edited a book of articles on the Rwandan genocide, published in 2005. In 2006, she started working on another book project on the testimonies of female genocide survivors, thanks to grant from the Rwandan Ministry of Higher Education. She was able to spend six months in residency at the Institut des Recherches Scientifiques et Technologiques (lRST) in Rwanda, during which time she networked with Rwandan researchers, officials and colleagues from other international universities to facilitate their visits to MU. Building on this expertise, she created new courses about testimonial writings and has also developed a summer study abroad program in interdisciplinary genocide studies. As a follow up to the 2009 study abroad program, she helped three MU students find internships at organizations in Rwanda.
Published by the International Center, N52 Memorial Union, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 | Phone: 573-882-6007 | Fax: 573-882-3223
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