Global Programs honors faculty, staff and students

'Advancing a Global Penn State' awards grant recognition for global engagement, leadership

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Global Programs has announced the 2020 recipients of annual awards that recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals and academic programs at Penn State who have helped to advance the University’s global engagement goals.

The Outstanding International Research Award recognizes innovative research projects and initiatives that can be shown to be advancing progress towards one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s recipient is Paige Castellanos, assistant research professor in international agriculture and the Gender Equity through Agriculture Research and Education Initiative in the College of Agricultural Sciences, in recognition for their dedication to conducting research in the field of agriculture that is directly supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality. 

The Outstanding Leadership in Education Abroad Award recognizes exemplary leadership by a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and creativity in developing, implementing or enhancing education abroad opportunities for members of the Penn State community. Ben Fredrick, professor in the College of Medicine, is recognized for his leadership in creating the Global Health Scholars Program, a collaborative project in the College of Medicine that provides medical students the opportunity to have educational experiences abroad and connect what they learn abroad to the practice of medicine in the United States.  

The Outstanding Leadership in International Education Award recognizes exemplary leadership by a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and creativity in developing and/or enhancing international education opportunities for students. Melanie Miller-Foster, assistant teaching professor of international agriculture, is honored for her leadership in promoting innovation in international education that develops deep global competency through learning opportunities spanning the life span. She is co-founder of the Global Teach Ag Network, an initiative that works with K-12 educators in agriculture to provide opportunities to globalize instruction.

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes one individual who has demonstrated exceptional achievement towards furthering the vision of a Global Penn State. Kimberly Neely, senior director of development and alumni relations in the Eberly College of Science, is recognized her outstanding leadership and professionalism in shepherding the creation of the Perreault Fellows Scholarship Program.

The Outstanding Program Award is granted to the Penn State/Children and Youth Empowerment Centre in Nyeri, Kenya, recognized for the positive impact it has on vulnerable youth in Kenya and for the unique educational opportunity the program offers Penn State students. Led by Janelle Larson, associate professor of agricultural economics, the program has yielded real-world outcomes with lasting impact, including initiatives and programming related to food production, youth development and entrepreneurship.

The W. LaMarr Kopp International Faculty Award, established in 1995, recognizes faculty members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named in honor of W. LaMarr Kopp, late deputy vice president for international programs. This year’s recipient is Michael Jacobson, professor of forest resources in the College of Agricultural Sciences, who was selected in recognition of his distinguished legacy of championing the internationalization of the University. As the inaugural Global Faculty Fellow in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Jacobson leads the College’s Ag2Africa initiative and is a leader of the University’s Water, Energy, Food (WEF) Nexus work in Africa. 

The Ardeth and Norman Frisbey International Student Awards recognize international students who have contributed significantly to furthering international understanding through academic, athletic, or extracurricular campus activity or community involvement in civic programs or service projects. 

The 2020 undergraduate award recipients are Gerardo Erik Suarez, for his outstanding contributions and service to the Office of Global Programs at Penn State Abington; and Nakul Grover, a senior dual majoring in chemical engineering and English in the integrated BA+MA program, for the book he wrote about the plight of the Rohingya people living in camps entitled “The Goddess of Peacocks.” 

The 2020 graduate student award recipients are Terry J Torres-Cruz, a doctoral candidate in plant pathology and environmental microbiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences; and Lina Tami-Barrera, a dual-title doctoral candidate in rural sociology and international agricultural development, also in the College of Agricultural Sciences.  

For more information on the awards, contact Jennifer Theiss at [email protected].