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Student Spotlight

Adriana Camacho receives the 2022 Presidential Medal for Outstanding Research or Creative Excellence Demonstrated by a Master’s Student


Adriana Camacho


We are delighted to announce that for the 2nd year in a row a Latin American Studies student received an exceptional student award - the Presidential Medal.

This year Adriana Camacho, a civil engineer and a second-year LAS student that focuses on sustainable construction, received the Presidential Medal award as a recognition of her outstanding capstone project, "Sustainable irrigation water supply system design for southern Ecuadorian communities."

Her capstone project aims to enhance the living conditions of underserved communities in Loja province Ecuador, through water supply for irrigation. The system encompasses the design of an irrigation system from the catchment structure to the drip irrigation system on every plot. It also includes the design of a Rainwater Harvesting System to guarantee sustainable farming throughout the year.

The Infectious Tropical Disease Institute at OU is promoting the project to eventually help establish the water supply system in Southern Ecuadorian communities in order to address the social, economic, and environmental issues prevalent in the zone.

Adriana says "This award belongs to every single one of you who has supported me and inspired me throughout the last two years. A special dedication to my family, friends, and my Ecuadorian colleagues in Athens".

#OUVirtualExpo Winners

Each year, OHIO hosts its annual Student Expo to celebrate and showcase Ohio University student research & creative activity. This year the expo was held virtually where students and postdocs were able to participate through social media by posting text, pictures or graphic video about their research & creative works to their social media accounts. CIS students Vanessa AntwiDina RishmawiJeremiah Commey and Linda Tuah presented their research as part of the Expo! Dina Rishmawi placed first in the International Global category for video judging and Vanessa Antwi placed first in the Diversity & Inclusion category. Congratulations to our students on their hard work!


Jennifer Ayarkwa Receives Blackburn/Spencer Scholarship Award


Jennifer Ayarkwa Blackburn Scholarship Awardee

Congratulations to Jennifer Ayarkwa, a 3rd year triple major undergraduate student in Latin American Studies, Linguistics and Spanish, for receiving the Blackburn/Spencer Scholarship and Achievement Award.

Jennifer writes “Coming from a Ghanaian background, I have always embraced my diversity, and it made me open to embracing the diversity of others, thus my love for studying Spanish and all things Latin America. Through the generosity of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship (as well as scholarships through the Global Office of Opportunities) I was recently able to study abroad in Toledo, Spain. During my time in Toledo, I worked with kids from ages 3-12, and I educated them about my life as a Ghanaian American student and encouraged them to follow whatever dreams that they have, as I did the same. It is an honor to receive the Blackburn / Spencer Achievement Award!”

The Blackburn/Spencer Scholarship and Achievement Awards were established by the Black Student Cultural Programming Board in 1979 in honor of Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn, the first African American woman to graduate from Ohio University and Donald A. Spencer, the first African American to serve as chairman of the Ohio University Board of Trustees. Recipients are selected based on a combination of financial need, academic performance, and outstanding contributions to Ohio University.

Your CIS Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Representatives


Amal Shimir - Vice President, GSS

Amal Shimir is a MA candidate in International Development Studies at Ohio University. Amal is the current Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Vice President, and she is also the President of Ohio University Fulbright Scholars Association. She is from Iraq where she has worked for many international organizations like International Rescue Committee and International Committee of the Red Cross as a humanitarian worker.  Amal concentrates on development and conflict. She plans to focus her study on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups and militias in Iraq in post conflict and the challenges of DDR in Iraq when it comes to pro-government militias . In her free time, she enjoys reading and traveling.


Linda Tuah - College Senator for CIS

Linda Konadu Tuah is a second-year MA candidate in International Development Studies at OU from Ghana. Linda is the current College Senator for the Center for International Studies. Her area of research is on the works and lives of female African migrant workers in the Homecare industry and how they contribute to the economic development of countries they find themselves in as well as their home countries. In this sense, she focuses on remittances and how that helps in the economic development of migrants’ home countries. She is passionate about advocating for the less privileged in communities or societies by helping them to be appreciated and seen as valuable members of their communities so that they are not excluded or left behind.


GSS Program Representatives


Daniela Avila - Latin American Studies

Daniela Avila is a second year MA candidate in Latin American Studies at OU and works for the Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute at Ohio University. She is the current Department Representative for the Latin American Studies Program for the GSS. As part of her activities within the GSS she also represents graduate students in the University International Council (UIC) at OU. She was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, one of the smallest yet most diverse countries in South America. She acquired a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and International Business from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. She has a keen interest in Women, Gender, and Development Studies and is currently conducting her research on the Amazonian Women Fights for Environment in Ecuador.

George Atta - African Studies 

George is a second-year MA candidate pursing African Studies at OU. George is the current African Studies Department Representative for the Graduate Student Senator. He is from Anyinam in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He holds a Bachelor's degree in History from the Kwame Nkurumah University of Science & Technology. His research interest lie in the area of environment and colonialism, and democratization in Africa. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer. 

Laureen Owaga - International Development Studies 

Laureen Owaga is a second-year MA Candidate in International Development Studies (IDS) from Kenya. Laureen is the current International Development Studies Department Representative at the Graduate Student Senate and has interests in diversity and social justice. Her area of focus is in Gender and Development, and her research area is in Gender inequality and Gender-Based Violence, specifically investigating the challenges of domesticating Gender-Based Violence policies' implementations in Kenya.



Jeremiah Commey is featured sitting down, from head to shoulders. He is wearing a blue shirt

Commey receives the Richard A. Horovitz Fund for Professional Development

Jeremiah Commey, a second-year  MA student in African Studies from Ghana, has been awarded the Richard A. Horovitz Fund for Professional Development. He aspires to work with universities and international non-governmental organizations seeking to undertake developmental projects with the aim of imparting his knowledge and experience to improving the lives of the younger generation. 

The Horovitz Fund is dedicated to African artists and scholars in the humanities and social sciences and is awarded to graduate students with a demonstrated academic achievement. The fund was established in memory of Richard Horovitz, a Ford Foundation program officer who died in 1991.

His main area of research is development within the cultural perspective in Africa. The inspiration and passion for his career path has been a result of his experience as a Teaching/Research Assistant at the Modern Languages Center at the University of Ghana following the completion of his first degree in Political Science and Swahili. He intends to give back to his country and community through research and teaching after the completion of a doctoral degree. His goal is to acquire new approaches and interdisciplinary techniques–appropriate for the study of the Black experience; historical, cultural, African Diaspora studies, and contemporary socio-economic and political issues, and effectively apply them upon his return to Ghana.