International Achievement Luncheon

A photo of all of the honorees at the 2019 International Achievement Luncheon

The International Achievement Luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of CWRU's international and study abroad students and recognize those who are preparing to graduate. 

The event features the Global Citizen Awards, which honor outstanding students, campus partners and student organizations, and the winners of the annual Study Abroad Photo Contest are announced. 

Congratulations to all of the 2019 honorees!

The Center for International Affairs' Global Citizen Awards recognize students, organizations and campus offices that enhance the international student experience, promote a sense of community at CWRU and exemplify the university's values of inclusion and diversity.

A picture of Yuliang "Bill" Ding with his award

Laurie D. Zelman International Undergraduate Student: Yuliang “Bill” Ding

The Laurie D. Zelman International Undergraduate Student award is presented to a student who helps to create an inclusive community, encourages understanding among people of different cultures, is involved in positive work on campus, and helps others achieve their potential.

Bill has taken the initiative to serve in numerous capacities throughout CWRU. He brought new and unique perspectives to the Minority Association of Premedical Students and the Global Health Design Collaborative; has cultivated others’ growth as a Student Activities and Leadership Ambassador; has welcomed new students as an Orientation Leader; and, in 2018, completed 100 hours of community service through the CCEL Scholars Program. His nominators wrote about his positivity, endless enthusiasm, kindness to others, encouraging nature, and empathetic spirit.

A picture of J. Sebastian Garcia Medina with his award

Unsung Champion Award: J. Sebastian Garcia Medina

The award for Unsung Champion is presented to a student who has been involved on campus but has not necessarily held formal leadership positions.  It honors a person who rarely receives recognition for his or her work "behind the scenes" to enhance the international student experience and sense of community on campus.

J. Sebastian Garcia Medina created a platform, PrepGED, to help Spanish speakers succeed on their GED exams.  He secured funding, found a collaborator, and built the platform from the ground up.  He spent “countless hours” creating lesson plans, templates, and guides for recording tutorial videos. In his nominator’s words, “…instead of just getting through his two M.A. programs, research, and TA-ing, he has chosen to lead the start of a totally new and truly important resource for people also trying to advance their education and opportunities.”

A picture of representatives from Undergraduate Student Government Receiving their award

Outstanding Student Organization: USG

The Outstanding Student Organization award goes to a university-recognized group that has gone above and beyond a focus on their own membership to create a positive campus environment.

Following the travel ban preventing citizens of 7 Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, many international students felt vulnerable about presenting their passports revealing their country of citizenship, which for many, was their only form of government-issued identification in the U.S. Undergraduate Student Government rallied to assist any international student who wanted to obtain an Ohio Identification Card, which they could present, when appropriate, in lieu of a passport.
This initiative began in Spring 2017 and has been organized every semester since. This student organization arranges transportation to and from a BMV that issues state identification cards and supplements fees as needed, but above all, they have been helping to provide peace of mind through their support. They have served more than 20 international students to date - and in turn, helped our international students feel more welcome on our campus.

Spirit of Service Award: Geneva Magsino

Spirit of Service honors a student who has served the campus community with vigor, devotion, and an unshakable positive attitude. 

Geneva Magsino served as the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative President and used that platform to build relationships with other student leaders. It inspired her, along with collaborators, to apply for the Projects for Peace grant to improve menstrual hygiene and female health education in developing countries.  As recipients of this grant, she and a colleague traveled to Sierra Leone last summer to work with the UN Foundation, Girl Up, to help implement their program - which couples education with mentorship.

A picture of Chamois Williams, from The Alumni Association of CWRU with her award and partners from the Center for International Affairs

The Outstanding Partner in Collaboration Award: The Alumni Association of CWRU

The Outstanding Partner in Collaboration goes to a campus partner that has successfully worked with the Center for International Affairs to sponsor or host an event or program that has benefited the international student community and internationalization efforts.

The Alumni Association of CWRU works with the Center for International Affairs to connect alumni living abroad with students and events on campus that celebrate their culture.

The Study Abroad-Alumni Connections program—a collaboration between the offices —experienced significant growth in 2018.  The program matches students studying abroad with alumni living in their host countries and aims to broaden study abroad students’ worldviews, create deeper understanding between students and alumni, and offer alumni a concrete way to give back. 

Together, the Center and The Alumni Association works to ensure international students on campus, students studying abroad, and alumni around the world know CWRU is their home, and we are all family.  

Mohammad Islam with his award

Elise Lindsay International Graduate Student: Mohammad Islam

The Elise Lindsay International Graduate Student award honors a student who has exemplified talent, perseverance, courage, and a desire to make the world a better place through inclusion, research, teaching, care for others, or betterment of the university community. 

As an Electrical Engineering student, Mohammad Islam has fostered collaboration between multiple labs and has opened doors for future collaborations.  He is described as, “…an inspiration to fellow students,” and his “…superb research work provides inspiration to the undergraduates.”  As one nominator put it, “I am proud when I tell others that I know [him]; his successes, passion, and fervor towards his goals in life helps motivate others around him to accomplish their respective ambitions.”

Outside of the lab, Mohammad also takes time to serve members of the Greater Cleveland community.  He has worked with high school students doing summer research, mentored undergraduate and master’s students, and served as President of Golden Key Honors Society.  In addition, he is a founding member of the Bangladesh Student Association, which serves to welcome Bangladeshi students to CWRU and to help them adjust to life in Cleveland.  

Landscapes, Buildings and Bridges - Michael Nguyen

A picture of columns in the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt

This photo is of the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt, where Michael says the columns provided the only respite from the unforgiving sun. He visited Egypt on a semester break while studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. 

The World is Your Classroom - Cindy Wu

Cindy Wu demonstrating a vaccine carrier idea to health workers in the Luwero District of Uganda

After working all year to design prototypes of biomedical devices to improve vaccine outreach in Uganda, in this photo, Cindy is demonstrating the vaccine carrier idea to health workers in the Luwero District with the help of her classmates from CWRU & students from Makerere University. She was part of the interdisciplinary  Global Health Design study abroad program.

Cultural Selfie - Gabrielle Watson

A picture of Gabrielle standing with a tailor in the Luwero District of Uganda, who altered Gabrielle’s brightly-colored dress in less than five minutes

This is a photo of Gabrielle (who is on the right) and a tailor in the Luwero District of Uganda, who altered Gabrielle’s dress in less than five minutes! Gabrielle was also in Uganda as part of the Global Health Design program.


Most Likes on Facebook - Sophia Poppenberg

A of nature at sunrise during a safari at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in Cape Town, South Africa

This photo was taken at sunrise during a safari at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in Cape Town, South Africa. It received approximately 200 likes on Facebook! Sophia was studying abroad during May Term 2018 with an engineering program.   


General Category and Overall Winner - Nandita Kannapadi

A photo of Nandita and her friend standing in the Wadi Rum desert of Jordan

This was taken while Nandita was camping in the Wadi Rum desert of Jordan before she and her friend rode camels and watched the sunset. Nandita was studying abroad with the Department of Modern Languages in Literature during Spring Break.