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Columbia Missourian

International Engagement Awards honors contributions to MU's internationalization

By Anli Xiao
April 17, 2012 | 10:13 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — MU held its 2012 International Engagement Awards Ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. 

The awards honored faculty, staff and students with outstanding contributions to the internationalization of MU and are sponsored by MU's Council on International Initiatives, International Center and Office of the Vice Provost for International Programs.

List of Nominees

  • Jenny Bossaller, assistant professor of education
  • Juanamaria Cordones-Cook, professor of Spanish
  • Karyn Cremeens, business study abroad student services coordinator
  • Jere Gilles, associate professor of rural sociology
  • Vega Grace, MU Health System language services coordinator
  • Adrienne Hoard, professor of art
  • Kattesh Katti, Curator’s Distingiushed Professor of Physics and Radiology
  • Sam Lin, biology student
  • Zahra Rasool, journalism student
  • Sarah Redohl, journalism student
  • Lise Saffran, public health instructor
  • Kristine Stewart, education student
  • Marty Townsend, associate professor of English
  • Rui Yao, assistant professor of personal financial planning

A subcommittee of the council for International Initiatives evaluated the nominees and determined the winners, according to MU's International Center.

Outstanding Staff Contribution: Jill Ford

Jill Ford is the director of International Student Programs in the College of Engineering at MU. 

She developed the Engineering Peer Mentoring Program in the fall of 2009 to help international students from China transition to life in Columbia. In addition, the program also exposes MU students to other cultures, according to her biographical sketch in the awards program.

Outstanding Student Contribution: Angellar Manguvo

Angellar Manguvo is a graduate student in the College of Education at MU.

Through research and service, Manguvo has worked to improve the social and academic welfare of international students at MU. She also serves in leadership positions on the Missouri International Student Council and the Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students, according to her biographical sketch in the awards program.

International Scholar- Outstanding Faculty Contribution: Puncky Heppner and Xinhua Zhuang

Puncky Heppner is a curators' professor in the College of Education.

His research in problem-solving strategies has been translated into many languages. He works to increase international student representation in counseling psychology programs, according to his biographical sketch in the awards program.

Xinhua Zhuang is the C.W. LaPierre Professor of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at MU. 

He has been involved in developing educational relationships between MU and Chinese universities. He has also helped to develop a mentoring program for international engineering students, according to his biographical sketch in the awards program.

Zhuang is now working to further bridge federal research and industrial collaborations between the U.S. and China.

At the ceremony

Jim Scott, director of MU's International Center, hosted the ceremony. He emphasized MU's long and rich history of international engagement and said the internationalization of MU requires individual participation. 

Peter Gardner, a professor emeritus of anthropology, congratulated the winners and nominees in a speech and said that he is pleased to witness the cultivation of truly active international engagement on MU's campus. 

Corinne Valdivia, associate professor of agriculture and applied economics, said international engagement also is helpful to research.

"It will force you to step outside the box and think of different ways of using your disciplines, " she said.

MU enrolled 1,948 international students from 103 countries in fall 2010. More than half of the them come from China, South Korea and India. In the 2009-2010 school year, 1,146 students joined MU's study abroad program, and Italy, Spain and UK are the top three destinations, according to the International Center of MU.