The IE Global Engagement Awards

Each year, International Education recognizes students, staff, faculty, and alumni who perform exemplary acts of internationalization to benefit the University of Richmond and communities beyond. Congratulations are in order to this year's deserving cohort!

2023-2024 Recipients

Ananya Chetia, '24
For her desire to spread awareness of the personal faces of global engagement through study abroad, and through international students studying abroad at the University of Richmond; for her courage in leading The Collegian to greater focus on international issues and our students’ roles in them; and for her optimism even in the face of intense pressure regarding how to represent complex global challenges.

Delaney Demaret, '24
For her commitment to global engagement though local relationships during UR’s International Education Week, and always; for her desire to navigate the world with empathy and insight; and for her awareness that we all need to work together to effect sustainable change.

Kay MacDonald
Administrative Coordinator, New Student and Transition Programs
For her natural and skilled promotion of international travel with maximal benefit and minimal risk for undergraduates; for her ready partnership with International Education and all comers; and for her sense of humor throughout.

M. Saif Mehkari 
Associate Professor of Economics
For his warm and personable mentorship with international students; for his recognition of the toll of the pandemic and responses through teaching and outreach; and for his constant collegiality and innovation.

Kazuma Muroi, '05
For bringing together UR alumni; for his skill and insight in helping visitors engage with Tokyo and Japan; and for his outstanding hospitality as a Global Spider.

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  • 2022-2023 Recipients

    Award Videos

    Kristine Grayson - Associate Professor of Biology
    For her quietly effective leadership, for her persistence in bringing other cultures into the classroom and into experiential learning for her students – often living and squirming examples of other cultures and species! – for deep engagement with our partner country of Aotearoa New Zealand, and for her profound partnership, we recognize Kristine Grayson with this year’s faculty Global Engagement Award.

    The Office for Sustainability
    For their steady commitment, their generous partnership, their sharing of knowledge and exploration in equal measure; for joining us in building a vision that will help our office to address the carbon emissions that global travel inevitably accrues; helped our office and the university as a whole move forward to address the complex global challenges that are inherent for each of us in climate change and sustainability, we recognize the Office for Sustainability with this year’s staff Global Engagement Award.

    Sarah Schaalkoff, ’23
    For her bold interrogation of her own past and current identity with an open heart and mind, for her embrace of many cultures - her native Japan and the United States – and also Jordan and Indonesia, for good measure; for her ability to cross boundaries through her steady pursuit of learning at the University of Richmond and all over the world, we recognize Sarah Schalkoff with one of this year’s student Global Engagement Awards.

    Yixuan Zhao, ’23
    For her bravery in coming to the United States, a country she thought she would never see; for her endurance in then remaining here throughout COVID, a prolonged stay in the United States she did not anticipate; for her leadership to the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and in many other ways, as she mentored others who struggled with adjustments, we recognize Yixuan Zhao with one of this year’s Global Engagement Award for students.

  • 2021-22 Recipients

    Award Videos

    Stephen Long - Associate Professor of Political Science and Global Studies
    Whether adding his wisdom to a panel on a pressing topic of the day, teaching by Zoom at odd hours so that students in China could learn during the pandemic, or re-launching EnCompass trips this year by taking students to London so they could experience for themselves the lingering imprint of WWll, Dr. Stephen Long promotes global awareness by taking the extra step. His students and colleagues develop a better understanding of what’s going on in the world today and what they can do about it. Dr. Long says he wants his students to see themselves as part of a global community, but he also seeks to highlight differences of opinion in his classes so that students understand how their thinking is influenced by where they grew up and their life experiences so far.

    The Passport Café Team
    From donning red uniforms and presenting open-faced sandwiches in honor of Danish Week in 2017, to the bright face of Karen Kourkoulis when she talks about food, there is no stronger global awareness and constructive engagement than what happens right here in this building with astonishing consistency every day. Throughout the pandemic, we appreciated the team who have created and adapted and smiled throughout to keep the rest of us nourished and able. Says Maya Vincelli, “This team is extremely resilient and the leadership and coaching that Karen does with her team creates an extraordinary experience for our students.”

    Hoor Ul Ain, ’23 & Sabrina Borneff, ’22
    Hoor has been a generous global ambassador through her work as an orientation advisor, her fearless advocacy on behalf of international students, and her passion and drive in all that she does. She is a natural leader and a gifted communicator. Sabrina Borneff engages globally by diving deeply into new cultures. She became interested in Sweden as a student in my comparative politics class and then in the teeth of the pandemic packed her bags and spent the following semester in Stockholm. She travels lightly, focusing on people and learning from her surroundings. As the peer advisor for study abroad this year, Sabrina has been a tireless proponent of other students traveling and learning.

  • 2018-19 Recipients
    • Dr. Kasongo Kapanga, Professor of French and Francophone Studies, has long been a terrific colleague for International Education as he brings insight to his generations of students as a scholar living with lived knowledge of at least two cultures, his native Democratic Republic of Congo and his deep understanding of the United States. On the faculty seminar trip to South Africa last summer, Kasongo was a steady and wise presence, moving deftly among cultures and serving as part of the glue that kept the group tight. He then brought Africa back to campus for South Africa Week with a splendid series of films hosted by his colleague from the University of Pretoria, film critic Chris Boodryk, who has left strong ripples behind him. Kasongo will return to South Africa this summer to give a paper at the University of Witswatersrand. For his collegiality and unfailing desire to bring cultures together in mutual understanding, he is awarded the 2019 International Education Award.
    • Dr. Todd Lookingbill, Associate Professor of Geography, the Environment and Biology, has an amiable disposition masking his steely resolve to make the world a better place, student by student and colleague by colleague. He brought this strength to the faculty seminar trip in South Africa and then shared one of the great finds from that trip with his classes here in Richmond. Photographer Johnny Miller has had a great couple of years with his photographs of inequality featured in National Geographic and other prominent venues, but when he spent a week on campus with us this November he said he’d never had an experience like participating in Todd’s classes and seeing the sense of purpose and analytical skill with which the students analyzed his work. Todd also took a group of international and domestic students on a Passport to Virginia trip this year, understanding that the natural environment is as important as historical houses and monuments in understanding this beautiful place we are privileged to call home. For his keen eye, wit, and desire to improve, she is awarded the 2019 International Education Award.
    • Liz Buehler, Assistant Director, Events, Conferences and Support Services, is a colleague and partner extraordinaire to so many on campus and always puts her best efforts forward to support the work of International Education. So many events come together in meaningful ways with her support and networks around campus. She regularly sprinkles her magic venue-scheduling dust on the annual International Film Series, which on average covers 18 weekends and more than 55 individual screening reservations. There’s nearly no scheduling conflict she can’t work through that leaves all parties satisfied - or at least becalmed. Her greatest claim to this award is the work she has put in for the recent International Education weeks, so far Danish Week and South Africa Week, in November of 2017 and 2018. Anyone else would flinch when you want to construct 700 luminaries stretching from this building to the dining hall! Need a fir tree for Danish students to decorate or want to dramatically light a selection of trees across campus? Liz can put you in touch with all of the right people. For her poise, expert management, and creativity – all while safely weaving through campus foot traffic in a golf cart – she is awarded the 2019 International Education Award.
    • Emily Churchill, ’19, majoring in Global Studies and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies and Global Studies, and minoring in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, studied abroad for a year and two summers in Spain, and a summer in Morocco, interned with a UR alumnus in Ecuador, and accompanied first-time student travelers to Chile this spring to launch the first EnCompass program. And yet her greatest impact has probably been on this campus, where her wise counsel as the Study Abroad Peer Advisor has helped hundreds of students learn how to travel well. While in Granada, where she pursued interests in Moorish history and women’s issues in the Islamic world, Emily blogged for IES Abroad. She was selected as the 2017-18 Correspondent of the Year and honored at IES Abroad’s annual conference in Chicago, where the country’s largest study abroad provider called Emily’s work insightful, engaging, and authentic. Her posts from Spain have been viewed almost 3000 times by those who seek valuable advice on making the most of their travels. After her graduation in May, Emily will travel to Costa Rica to work for AMIGOS, an international exchange and community service program for high school and college students. For her generous wisdom honed through travel and her insightful presence in the Office of International Education, she is awarded the 2019 International Education Award.
    • Jieyi Ding, ’19, also known as Crystal, first worked in the Office of International Education in Fall 2017 as an international orientation assistant. She returned in Fall 2018 as head orientation advisor, a position responsible for coordinating the entire team of 16 orientation advisors who in turn work with more than 100 international students. Crystal was dependable, organized, a self-starter, and had a great attitude. As an international student herself, Crystal showed empathy and understanding to our new students, and also served as a role model for involvement on campus. Crystal is active in WCGA student government, and is also involved in Chinese Student Scholars Association, Debate Council, as well as working at both Boatwright Library and the Speech Center. As a major in Leadership Studies and Psychology, she pursued study abroad opportunities in La Rochelle, France and an SSIR trip to Canada. In addition to her many academic and extracurricular engagements, Crystal is always willing to stop and have a conversation. As an outstanding student, a supportive friend, and a role model for fellow Spiders, she is awarded the 2019 International Education Award.
  • 2017-18 Recipients
    • Dr. Mary Finley-Brook, Associate Professor of Geography, Environmental Studies & International Studies
    • Rob Andrejewski, Director of Sustainability
    • The Heilman Dining Team
    • Harleen Bal, ‘18
    • Marcin Jerzewski, ‘18
  • 2016-17 Recipients
    • Dr. Patricia Herrera, Associate Professor of Theatre
    • Molly J. Fair, Film/Cinematic Arts Librarian
    • Javier Cifuentes Garzaro, ‘17
    • Jackie Sirc, ‘17
  • 2015-16 Recipients
    • Lidia Radi
    • Amit Eynan
    • Dave McCoy
    • Thamine Nayeem
    • Luka Klimaviciute
  • 2014-15 Recipients
    • David Salisbury
    • Andrew Gurka
    • Mel Shuaipi
    • Aastha Minocha
    • Mark Odenwelder
  • 2013-14 Recipients
    • Jenny Pribble
    • Bruce Matthews
    • Cristina Meehan
    • Chun Li
    • Judith R. Anderson
  • 2012-13 Recipients
    • Laura Runyen-Janecky
    • Nuray Grove
    • Leslie Stevenson
    • Brian Stellingwerf
    • Jave-Evette Strachan
    • John Quinley
  • 2011-12 Recipients
    • Ellen Walk
    • Karen Kourkoulis
    • Evan Raborn
    • Chandana Chava
    • Brett Wigdortz
  • 2010-11 Recipients
    • Joyce van der Laan Smith
    • Paul Porterfield
    • Phil Sherman
    • Doug West
    • Diana Trinh
    • Suran Dara
    • Laura Smiley
  • 2009-10 Recipients
    • David Salisbury
    • Peter Smallwood
    • Mickie Campos
    • Kelly Behrend
    • Tom Borwick
    • Betty Ann Dillon
  • 2008-09 Recipients
    • Andy McGraw
    • Leah Nelson
    • Kate Simma
    • Xenia Schneider
  • 2007-08 Recipients
    • Sharon Feldman
    • Michelle Bhatta
    • Natsumi Oba
    • Matt Lakin
  • 2006-07 Recipients
    • Martin Sulzer-Reichel
    • Troy Boroughs
    • Genevieve Goulding
    • Balu Chandrasekaran
  • 2005-06 Recipients
    • University Dining Services
    • Robert Nicholson
    • Lisa Brancheau
    • Marina Caeiro
  • 2004-05 Recipients
    • Art Gunlicks
    • Suzanne Kallighan
    • Charley King
    • Mildred Alves-Sampson
    • Laura Davis
    • Kazuma Muroi
  • 2003-04 Recipients
    • John Outland
    • Joan Lachowsky
    • Jack Hunter
    • Viola Tribica
    • Melissa Whitlock
    • Tyrone Hanley
  • 2002-03 Recipients
    • Lorenza Marcin
    • Kenny Adcock
    • Monika Peets
  • 2001-02 Recipients
    • Brendan O’Connell
    • Christy Samford
    • Laura Haddad