Global Engagement Kudos
Global Engagement Kudos are collected to celebrate and champion the impactful ways our OHIO community has thrived and creatively connected and supported our campus and global communities, despite the myriad of shifts in worldwide circumstances and new modalities of delivery.
This spotlight-style recognition profiles faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members who are passionate about international education; committed to supporting, building, and sustaining connections that advance international engagement; and promoting cultural diversity and partnerships among the international community at Ohio University, in Athens, and globally.
MM has been great with speaking up and advocating on issues going on in the world from Black Lives Matter, End Sars to Health Insurance. All the while balancing her Ph.D. program and raising a wonderful son. There are so many good things to say about MM. For now, shout out to you! You are doing ahmahzing!!
Saylor Evans is a bright and people-oriented Senior studying Spanish Education. She studied abroad in Cusco, Peru where she took Spanish courses for her major and simultaneously got to experience being outside of the country for the first time. She was able to fulfill her childhood dream of visiting the incredible Machu Picchu and she is adamant to revisit there again one day. Saylor is an inspiration to all new travelers because she went abroad with CIS, a third party affiliate of OHIO, where she did not know a single person. She quickly grew friendships with the people in her program and they still communicate to this day. Her experience in Peru helped her grow as an independent person, introduced her to different walks of life, and sparked her love for travel and the desire to experience more cultures all around the world.
Congratulations to Clay Burger, who despite having a rigorous program as an HTC chemistry student, is actively pursuing his interest in German. Mr. Burger was a participant in Modern Languages' spring 2020 study abroad program in Salzburg, where he distinguished himself through his progress in learning German and especially in making friends at the university. He was even interviewed on the local radio station. Sadly that program was recalled because of the pandemic, but that has not diminished Mr. Burger's engagement. He continues to take German courses and is president of the German Club and regularly hosts different virtual club activities. Mr. Burger even invites Austrian students to join these events, continuing the interactions he started in Salzburg and introducing his fellow OHIO students to students and perspectives from across the world. As we say in German: Hut ab, Herr Burger!
Hayasa has been a great support to the international student community through numerous advocacy efforts, support, and influence as President of the International Student Body. I appreciate her and am sure others as well do. You are doing a fantastic job. Lucky to be working with you this semester. Keep up the good work!!
For his birthday, Dennis started and led a campaign to help international students affected by COVID-19. The campaign raised $1,843.68 which was donated to the Joann B. Stedman International Student Grant Fund. Thank you Dennis, you are an inspiration!
Applicants and Awardees of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
I want to give a shout out to all the undergraduate students who applied for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship this fall as well as all our former applicants and recipients. I am forever impressed by your creativity, enthusiasm and drive. Applying for a nationally competitive award can seem daunting, but these students put the time and energy into writing compelling essays about where they've been, where they're going and how a study abroad experience will help position them for their future. Thanks for being one of the best parts of my job!
The International Student Task Force
The International Student Task Force has done amazing work this year advocating for international students and gathering support from the university and community. Faustina Mensah, Majed Zailaee, Hayasa Tahmazyan, Oumarou Abdoulaye Balarabe, and Michael Senteny deserve major kudos for the difference they are making for our international community!
Amina is an amazing person. She has been a support system to many including me and Aishat. Her willingness and zeal to help everyone is amazing especially new incoming international students as she knows how hard it is to leave home and come to study here in the US. She has a loving and a caring heart, and for that we thank her for everything she has done. She has worked hard to be the person she is now, and for that we appreciate her.
-Amal Shimir and Aishat Tijani Najib
Samba is a godfather to many international students. In terms of need, Samba is always willing to lend a hand to support. He has a kind loving heart, which makes him an idol for many students at Ohio University. He is a leader who never stops until he knows that the people's needs are met. His leadership skills and educational experience have strengthened him to be the great supportive he is. Thank you Samba for everything that you have done. Thank you for changing and impacting many lives!
-Amal Shimir and Aishat Tijani Najib
I would like to congratulate Brian Colgan, who was a student in the 2020 Salzburg study abroad program. Brian participated in the program as a freshman. Although he started at OU with great German skills, his abilities grew tremendously while in Austria, and he is continuing to pursue his study of German, alongside his already demanding major requirements as an international business major. Despite the unfortunate cutting short of the program because of the pandemic, Brian's international ambitions have not been deterred and he has taken a position as an advisor for students considering studying abroad in the Office of Global Opportunities. With his skills and motivation, Brian will be a great asset to anyone interested in going abroad!
Tharushi is a Ph.D student in the Chemistry Department at OU, where she works and studies. She is a wonderful person and an amazing TA. She has tried her best to make everything look easy just because she wants to support her students and colleagues. I admire her work ethic and the impact that she has had on people around her. I cannot express my gratitude and how lucky I am for being your friend. Thank you my gorgeous Tharushi!
Amal Shimir is a graduate student of International Development Studies and a Fulbright scholar from Iraq. Amal is one of the most amazing human beings that I have met in my life. She always goes beyond her ways to help those in need and bring positivity to the OU community. That is why she currently serves as the OU Fulbright Association’s President and Graduate Students’ Senate vice president. Amal and people like her are the true image of the rising Iraqi women power and voice that makes Iraq a better place not only for women but also for everyone else. Amal is interested in War and Peace Studies and is highly motivated to contribute to Iraq’s unyielding state building process. She hopes for the Iraqi women in national level and every other women in international level to grow and accomplish their dreams. She is a true believer in peace and prosperity and cross-cultural harmonization
-Mohammad Sakhi Hassany
Amal is a fantastic person with a caring and loving heart. IDS 2019/2021 cohort is fortunate to have a friend and a sister like you. Her tenure of office for the graduate community as GSS Vice president has helped exhibit her leadership skills. She participated in helping the fundraising event for international students during the summer when COVID-19 impacted many. She has also been working to help students voice their concerns and issues affecting the graduate and professional students here at Ohio University. Your timely help does put our minds to rest. We truly appreciate and love you!
-Aishat Tijani Najib
Kaelyn Ferris and Amid Vahedi
The Graduate Student Senate has given me the opportunity to work with many students from different backgrounds and cultures. Being a vice president of GSS and working alongside with Kaelyn and Amid has been a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot from their experience in education and GSS. They welcomed me as part of the team and together, we have been working to advocate on behalf of the graduate and professional community here in Ohio University. Thank you both for being such a great team. I’m so impressed by how you communicate. It makes everything easier.
The Athens Community
The entire Athens community worked together to support international students over the summer months, when COVID caused them to lose their income and closed borders prevented them from traveling home. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and unaffiliated community members all helped support the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, and it was very much appreciated!
Meg was an integral part of our Yamada Pantry this summer. Each week she harvested and brought fresh produce to the pantry. On other days she delivered the produce to apartments on her route home. Thank you Meg! We appreciate you.
Athens Community Advisory Committee for ISTF
The Executive Committee of the International Student Task Force (ISTF) nominates the Athens Community Advisory committee for ISTF for the Global Engagement Kudos. The Athens Community Advisory committee comprises representatives of churches in Athens, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and some community members. From summer 2020 to the present, the committee played a vital role in supporting the ISTF's advocacy efforts, which resulted in consistent donations to Ohio University's food pantry, Cats' Cupboard, and the International Students Emergency Relief Fund. Overall, the committee's unwavering devotion provided the ISTF the needed counsel and assistance to identify innovative yet sustainable ways to address international students' financial and food insecurity during COVID-19.
Mohammad Sakhi Hassany
Mohammad Sakhi Hassany is one of the most creative students at Ohio University, he graduated last May from International Development Studies. He came from Afghanistan as a Fulbrighter scholar to be the ambassador of his country where wars and conflicts, but he has the strong will to change this image. He is an activist for peace and he always told me that education is the way to rebuild his country. He has invested his time and studies to focus on youth and unemployment in Afghanistan. Thank you again for your positivity and the way you motivate people around you. I know I don’t say that enough.
Graduate College Admissions Staff
Due to COVID travel restrictions and embassy closures, many international students who intended to come for the Fall 2020 semester found themselves unable to get a visa and arrive in time. The Graduate College Admissions Team did amazing work to help students figure out their plans, process deferrals where necessary, and assist with late arrivals when feasible. Kudos to Andy Ray, Susan Spence, Traci Fetherolf, Katie Tadlock, and anyone else who was helping assure our international graduate students that they will have an educational home at OHIO now or in the future!
Big Kudos to Ty Carr and the OHIO Alumni Association for hosting the "Bobcats in the U.S. and Abroad – Alumni Impact in Global Communities" panel. It was a fantastic discussion! I loved hearing about each of the panelists' experiences at Ohio University and their incredible work beyond Athens, OH. It was wonderful to see our alumni reflect fondly on their formative years at Ohio University as the basis for their amazing international careers.
Dr. Obi was a member of the 2019 Global Connections group that visited Thailand and Vietnam. From this opportunity and his own experiences, he is able to share to the students of OHIO Chillicothe the important message that those of us in the United States need to cherish and make the most of the educational opportunities that are not afforded to others around the world. Also, Dr. Obi has published multiple articles in international journals.
Bose spearheaded two incredible efforts for CIS international students during summer that were timely, critical support—the Yamada Pantry was a targeted donation effort to provide food, toiletries, and household essentials for international students who remained in town and were caught in the midst of the travel bans and work opportunity shut-downs. This was tangible, impactful assistance that compassionately addressed student needs. She also organized virtual info sessions and check ins for students to share information, listen to worries, concerns, and questions, and begin connections and community before the semester began. Her caring and investment in students is remarkable.
Diane, our wonderful backbone. I appreciate all you are doing, supporting all our advocacy efforts and guiding us all on the best path. We are able to make a great impact across campus and our community from your tremendous support. Thank you for being there when we need someone. You are the best!!
Diane worked tirelessly behind the scenes to gather support for international students whose finances were impacted by COVID-19. Her efforts weren't visible to most, but they were tremendous and made a huge difference in the support students received. Kudos for all of your efforts to support international students at OHIO!
Dr. Purba Das is a leader in the area of global instructional and scholarly engagement. She has been instrumental in our Collaborative Online International Learning initiative and has worked tirelessly to grow programming opportunities. Her commitment and dedication to expand learning beyond the traditional classroom is to be commended.
Jennifer was an incredible, steadfast advocate for information and international student needs through the summer when the Executive order was issued regarding immigration and visas. I sat in on a handful of meetings at which she presented information about the guidance and implications; her nuanced knowledge, clear and open communication with units across campus, and insights through having a finger on the pulse of other institutions' interpretations were invaluable. I really believe her dedication to full understanding of the situation gave both students and OHIO administration well balanced, insightful information with which they could respond and move forward.
Alison was my program advisor when I studied abroad in Jamaica. She is such an easy person to talk to and really eased my nerves going into the trip. While abroad, she helped foster discussions and helped me to truly reflect upon all that I was experiencing. Our trip turned out to be a little chaotic due to the pandemic, but Alison helped me keep peace of mind. Even once we returned, she checked up on me to make sure I was doing okay which is something I really appreciated. I think it could have been really easy for Alison to be bitter or negative during our trip, but she did her best to keep the spirits of everyone up and really built an inclusive environment that promoted learning despite the circumstances we had to face.
I would like to recognize Sau Chun Lam for his quick response and timely support during the International Student Emergency Grant Fund Campaign over the summer. We were having technical issues with accepting gifts from our generous overseas alumni and Lam worked quickly to rectify the issue so our international alumni could support current students. Thank you, Lam, for providing outstanding service and for working quickly over the weekend to correct the issue!
Office of Global Opportunities
I have the honor to work every day with an amazing group of talented, dedicated, energetic, and creative colleagues who do all in their power to support students, faculty and each other. Whether working on their day-to-day activities, collaborating on a new initiative, or supporting faculty and students during a pandemic, Amanda, Cherita, Ellie, Emily, Keely, Kirsten, Lori, Sam, and Tonya shine. Thanks for being part of the OGO family!
Office of Global Opportunities
So, so many kudos to all my colleagues in the Office of Global Opportunities. You are the best, strongest, smartest, most qualified, creative and supportive team. You give the students, faculty and staff we serve at OHIO your absolute everything. Frequently, you are behind the global experiences and successes of others, but your work often goes unrecognized. Today, the spotlight should shine on you! I truly appreciate and admire each and every one of you.
Office of Global Opportunities
The global shut down and travel bans in the early days of the pandemic wreaked havoc on OHIO's study away programs, but the OGO team was instrumental in ensuring everyone was safe, well informed, and protocols enacted to facilitate the best possible student support and risk management strategies. Their nuanced knowledge and careful tracking of global events meant they were well prepared to respond decisively and calmly, which was surely appreciated by students stuck in the middle of the events. They are so dedicated to excellence and flexibility; their expert guidance is invaluable to OHIO!
I don't think enough folks know just how important Kirsten is to international education and global education at Ohio University. Kirsten manages so many pieces behind the scenes, from long-standing exchange partnerships to our robust and ever-growing health, safety, and risk management processes. She played a pivotal role in spring 2020 to make sure all of our students got home safely and followed up with them after they returned to help them process their experiences. She cares deeply about the students and about the mission of global engagement.
Kirsten brings her passion for international education and supporting students as they seek global experiences to her job each and every day. Since taking over management of OU's bilateral student exchanges, we've seen a significant increase in participation in these affordable study abroad experiences. Kirsten also leads the Office of Global Opportunity's risk management efforts, through which she continually shows her dedication, compassion and acumen. Thank you, Kirsten, for being an integral part of the OGO team!
Nik is a German professor at Ohio University that conducts the study abroad program in Salzburg, Austria. He has such a passion for the German language, as well as German and Austrian culture, and his energy translates to his students. Even given the nature of online classes, his passion and work-ethic are shown in his classes by dedicating his time to his students.
Ellie is a constant innovator and achiever, and an incredible support system for faculty, staff, and students at Ohio University. Over the course of 5 years as a campus advisor for CIS Abroad, she has been behind the scenes ensuring the success of dozens of global initiatives - even now while travel is restricted, she's working to connect faculty and staff to external partners to shape meaningful virtual experiences.
Cherita King Oliver
Cherita has natural talent for empathy and collaboration. This summer, when BSO was moved online, Cherita helped the teams in Student Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion pull together video modules to ensure our new Bobcats understood the value of their diverse identities to our university. She is tech-savvy and talented even in our remote work environment!
As the Associate Director of OGO, Keely has her hands in lots of different projects in the Office of Global Opportunities. Keely not only works on the long-term health and success of our global mission, but she's also in some of the day-to-day conversations like helping to plan the 2020 IEW and finding virtual global experience partners. She has had no hesitation in adapting to our current remote realities and, as such, has helped to give our office direction to continue connecting students and faculty to the world around us.
Emily has such a genuine care and passion for the work she does in OGO, never forgetting that students are at the heart of it all. She's expressed this throughout the challenges of 2020 through planning our first ever Virtual Global Opportunities Fair, recognizing that we can't just stop because travel is temporarily paused. Emily has also found meaningful ways to make the best of these times by working on our office's accessibility and by telling stories through our data so we can confidently make decisions moving ahead.
2020 has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years in the Office of Global Opportunities. As the Director of OGO, Catherine Marshall has been at the forefront of our response. She has had to make tough decision after tough decision. I have admired Catherine's openness to listen to the input and expertise of her team. She recognizes the value of collaborating, not only within the office but between offices across the university. I've also admired Catherine's continued push during this fall semester for a greater awareness of the Gilman Scholarship - she has supported many Pell Grant eligible students through the process and I have no doubt she will continue to do so.
Dr. Hughes is the Director of the Latin American Studies Program. He successfully advises students from different countries and is the biggest support for all his students. As part of the agreement between the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador and Ohio University, he is the person who Ecuadorian students can reach out to and he is always very welcoming and helpful. His classes always help students to better understand Latin America from different perspectives and he encourages important discussions and conversations to help create awareness of the importance of diversity, equity, and justice.
Tonya's role in the Office of Global Opportunities is really to be the frontline. She ensures that so many essential processes are completed for not only the staff in our office, but for the students she works with day in and day out. In the spring of 2020, Tonya was in charge of keeping our health & safety away lists up-to-date and was essential in making sure we were able to quickly reach all of our students abroad when country-wide lockdowns were beginning. She cares deeply for the work she does.
Lori is our accounting support expert! She works directly with all of our directors to provide thoughtfully-planned budgets. With the implications of COVID-19, Lori is helping our office and directors work together to think through many new financial considerations from PPE to housing and transportation constraints. She'll continue to help OGO and directors navigate the waters of university finance and budgeting on global programs for our future return to travel.
Pam Kaylor and Tracy Fetherolf
Tracy and Pam were part of the inaugural Global Connections Professional Development cohort. They made the most of every experience available and, upon their return to Ohio, worked on paying their experience forward. Tracy surveyed international graduate students to assess how the graduate admissions process could be adjusted to improve new students' experiences. Pam has continued her work with COIL and begun integrating virtual global experiential learning into her courses. Thanks to both of you for being amazing global champions!
Debra Benton, Elaine Goheen, Ebony Green and Jasmyn Channel
During the inaugural Global Connections Professional Development program's time in Ho Chi Minh City, Deb, Elaine, Ebony and Jasmyn shared their insights into university life in the US with the largest group Education USA had seen to that point. Thanks to this dream team for representing Ohio University at the program's recruitment events and for your commitment to global engagement!
Jeff Shane and Pittaya Paladroi-Shane
Jeff and Fon have been living their commitment to global engagement at Ohio University since day 1. In the summer of 2019, they expressed that commitment through their support and leadership with the inaugural Global Connections Professional Development program. They shared their insights and experiences and helped participants make the most of the program. Thank you for sharing your time, energy and enthusiasm and for fostering continued learning even after our return to Ohio.
Haley Duschinski has been a consistent and long-time advocate for Ohio University students to develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the world. She created one of the first short-term spring break programs to explore the legacy of The Troubles in Northern Ireland back in 2013. The program has consistently run for 8 years, including in 2020 during the outset of the pandemic in Europe. She continues to innovate through her role as a professor in anthropology and former Director of the Career Network and is working to connect students to opportunities with the international legal community such as The Hague and the UN Human Rights Council. She also embodies global engagement in her research in Indian-occupied Kashmir, which she recently presented in a congressional hearing. In short, Haley's work has been and will continue to be foundational to OU's mission of global engagement.
Amanda brings a creative spirit to the Office of Global Opportunities, even though she is tasked with some of the behind-the-scenes work that may not always feel creative like data and file management. She's always willing to pitch in where needed. Amanda had a key role in keeping the office running and made sure that students maintained their matriculated status through the complicated spring 2020 semester.
Assan is a fierce supporter of all African and Africanists students on campus. I am always impressed by the patience he affords students, be it answering their questions about applying to Ohio University, their research projects, or current affairs around the world. He is always finding innovative and productive ways for the History department and the African Studies Program as well as Center for International Studies to collaborate. He is also a wonderful and positive colleague. Thank you Assan for all you do!
Pittaya (Fon) Paladroi-Shane
I had the pleasure to meet Fon through the International Women's Art Installation (she is pictured below with her students' piece!) and instantly was inspired for her fierce passion for her students and the World Languages department. Fon encourages her students endlessly to challenge themselves to explore the the world around them and embrace other cultures wholeheartedly. Her ability to apply concepts within her classroom to the outside world makes her an incredible instructor and one of my favorite collaborators! She makes me wish I was able to take one of her Thai Language classes!
Gabriela Popa is a physics professor at Zanesville who was one of the original Collaborative Online International Learning Fellows. We traveled together to Mexico for intensive training with the Mexican and American Embassies. Gabriela has been a staunch advocate who has presented at national and international conferences about her work in COIL. Thanks, Gabriela, for being a wonderful travel partner and partner in working on COIL projects. (Picture: Gabriela Popa is on far right. We are with our partners from Mexico when they came here to visit)
Sam Rommel is OGO’s Study Away Advisor. But Sam is so much more. Sam cares deeply about supporting and engaging students in global education. She spends countless hours advising students, is a tireless advocate for diversity, inclusion and social justice, and is an incredible mentor and supervisor to OGO’s student peer advisors. Sam is a caring, supportive, creative and fun colleague and friend. In no small measure, thanks to Sam’s energy and cheerfulness, OGO is sunny and positive workplace!
-Emily Englehart and Kirsten Dabelko