As another academic year comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to look back and reflect on our successes. This productive year began auspiciously with the announcement by U.S. News & World Report that the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus ranked #29 in the world in its inaugural “Best Global Universities” rankings. We cheered as two of our distinguished international alumni took their places on the world stage as prime minister of Tunisia and ambassador to the U.S. from Iceland. We capped off our year-long “China 100” celebration of the 100th anniversary of our first Chinese students with a reception at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Beijing. And there’s so much more in which we can all take great pride! Thank you for being a partner on our journey to internationalize teaching, learning, research, and engagement at the University of Minnesota.
Associate Vice President and Dean
of International Programs
P.S.: To keep up with the latest international news from the U, follow us on Twitter: @umnGPS
Where in the World?
It rains A LOT in coastal Panama. That’s what a group of University faculty, staff, and researchers learned when they visited the lush tropical landscape of the Bocas del Toro archipelago off Panama's Caribbean coast in April. They also learned that there’s great potential for research collaborations, student internships and exchanges, and community engagement and development in the region. The group visited with experts in the area, including Panama’s ministry of health, local chamber of tourism, Floating Doctors, and the Peace Corps, plus they took tours of a botanical garden, banana plantation, and organic chocolate farm. These all could provide great opportunities for student field trips, research, and internships.
Visits to a chocolate farm and a botanical garden
Judd Fellowships + 1 + 2 = 18 Recipients
Caddisfly research in the Andes, maternal and child health policy at the World Health Organization, biodiversity conservation in India, medical Spanish in Peru, Hiroshima commemoration events in Japan...these are just some of the career-shaping projects that 18 master’s and professional degree students will undertake thanks to the 2015 Walter H. Judd International Graduate & Professional Fellowships. Read more about the Fellows' projects.
This year, the Judd Fellowships were able to fund 18 students instead of the usual 15. For the first time ever, a Judd Alumni Fellowship was awarded to the highest-ranked fellowship applicant. The additional fellowship was made possible by generous support from Judd Fellow alumni, with matching finds from donors Carol and Cliff Stiles. The inaugural Judd Alumni Fellowship recipient is Peter Truax, a landscape architecture master’s student, who will conduct research in Belgium to catalog the memorial landscapes of the First World War. Two additional fellowships specifically for activities in Panama were also made possible this year, in conjunction with the University's exploration of research opportunities there (see above story).
When A Leader Truly Inspires
A true leader inspires others to become leaders, who in turn inspire others...and so it continues. That's the case with the University's popular Small World Coffee Hour program. SWCH's Director Thorunn Bjarnadottir so inpired alumni Dr. Jeong Rok Oh (ME '09, Ph.D. '13) and Mr. Hee Sung Lee (ME '09) that they have supported a new award to inspire even more leaders within the program.
In May, Yaeeun Shin was the recipient of this award as she was named the SWCH Best Team Member of the Year.
Over the last year, Yaeeun brought together a team of student workers that successfully secured $20,800 in funding from the Student Services Fee committee to support SWCH, initiated three new activities, and coordinated events on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.
According to Alex Cleberg, the ISSS adviser for SWCH, “During her tenure as Small World Coffee Hour Coordinator, Yaeeun drew the SWCH team together to achieve goals that exceeded expectations. All these achievements were aided by her ability to see the potential in her team and harness their strengths."
Yaeeun is grateful for the recognition. "Thank you again for thinking highly of my (maybe the whole team's) humble achievement. I got my courage and bravery back today so I can accept the challenge of my next steps."
In addition to receiving this honor, Yaeeun also received a cash award, thanks to Dr. Oh and Mr. Lee's donation to the Small World Coffee Hour Fund.
Yaeeun Shin (center) with Small World Coffee Hour staff Thorunn Bjarnadottir and Alex Cleberg
New & Notable
Alumnus Samuel D. Heins (B.A. ’68, J.D. ’72) has been nominated as U.S. ambassador to Norway.
The University’s innovative Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID) program has opened a new site in Thailand, joining other locations in India, Kenya, Senegal, and Ecuador.
"Global Alumni Take Action" was the cover story for the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s Minnesota Magazine in the Spring 2015 issue.
Six students have received the State Department's prestigious 2015 Benjamin A. Gilman study abroad scholarship, which will support their studies this summer in Australia, China, the Netherlands Antilles, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
The Office of Equity and Diversity created a video that features international student Lucas Gil Nadolskis talking about his experience as a blind student at the University of Minnesota.
By the Numbers: Internationalizing Teaching and Learning
The Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Cohort Program provides faculty the knowledge, resources, and inspiration to design their courses to be more international. Through the cohort program, participants identify global learning outcomes, expand their teaching strategies, and develop course materials. Since 2010, the ITL Faculty Cohort Program has reached:
Program faculty have delivered significant outcomes through course design and re-design for international, global, and intercultural learning. One participant, Assistant Dean Laura Bloomberg (Humphrey School of Public Affairs), noticed that international students in her Program Evaluation course weren't participating in class discussions. Based on her work in the ITL program, she implemented an online discussion forum that opened a new means by which ALL students had an opportunity to participate and share their backgrounds. International students reported a sense of deeper inclusion in the course.
Photo: Provost Karen Hanson and ITL faculty participant Sarah Buchanan at a reception on April 17
"If we want to have an impact on the world around us, we must take a broader view—because everything in this world is connected. ...Your work to bring that global thinking into our local classrooms is truly transformative—not only for your students, but also for you, your local communities, and the world." — Provost Karen Hanson
“There are no limitations but ourselves”
The years spent at the University of Minnesota are transformative for all students, and this is especially true for international students who learned to live and study in a new culture. At this spring’s International Student Graduation Party, Hoa Harry Huynh shared his journey starting at the U of M as a new undergraduate who didn’t know if he could finish his first-year courses.
"[Now] whenever we see a big challenge—to design a new phone app, build a bridge, find a cure for a disease, or research a better model for the world economy—we don’t think 'It is too hard and impossible.' Instead, we take it with a calm and positive attitude, and we know it’s possible to figure it out." — Hoa Harry Huynh
Read all of Harry’s speech on the ISSS website and see more photos on the ISSS Facebook page.
Giving to the Raj Dutt Scholarship for International Students is a great way to ensure that other international students have a transformative journey like Hoa Harry Huynh.
Love of Travel Leads to Life-Changing Opportunities for Students
The University of Minnesota lost a great administrator and a supporter of all things international with the passing of Gerald “Jerry” Fischer on April 7. Jerry was president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Foundation for 18 years. In that role, he hosted many international visitors and made several trips abroad to visit with alumni, including as a part of President Hasselmo's visits to Asia in the 1990s (see photo).
He also believed strongly in the transformative power of travel and study abroad, so he and his wife created the Gerald and Catherine Fischer Study Abroad Scholarship to provide financial support for undergraduates who want to study abroad. His family requested memorial gifts be directed to the scholarship fund, among others, and we are so grateful that this fund will continue to support Jerry’s vision and provide life-changing opportunities for students.
Q&A: International Student Says #OwnYourAccent
Enoch Sun, an international student from China, was elected to be an At-Large Representative on the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) this spring.
Q: Why did you run for At-Large Representative?
A: I want to speak up for a specific group of people—international students. International students are underrepresented and don't have equal rights to domestic students. I want to work with other international students in the team to raise awareness to work in multicultural environment and try to think about every situation.
Q: What specific issues will you want to address concerning international students as a member of the Minnesota Student Association (MSA)?
A: I want to work on sexual assault awareness, mental health, and student engagement. I volunteer in The Aurora Center (TAC) [the University's resource for sexual assault advocacy and support]. I want to increase international students' awareness about sexual assault. Moreover, I hope by doing that, these students can help increase awareness in their own countries. The other issue I want to work with is student engagement. One thing that probably every international student may have a problem with is how to engage in the U. It's the important issue that is very hard to work on. I want to improve the situation, and I see helping students to know more about sexual assault and mental health as the first step.
Q: During your MSA campaign, you used the Twitter hashtag #OwnYourAccent. What does that mean to you, and why did you use it?
A: I think maybe every international student experiences one question that is frequently asked: "Where are you from? You have an accent." I think one thing that we should all know is that the accent is our identity, and we should be proud of our identity. The accent represents our home country. Moreover, I think every accent represents every single voice in the world. I want to hear these voices. These voices will not jump out and shout at people. It's our job to hear these voices and try to do something for them.
Minnesota-Iceland Cooperation: Here and There
The long-standing relationship between Minnesota and Iceland was strengthened thanks to events taking place in both Minnesota and Iceland this spring.
Connie Delaney, dean of the School of Nursing, led a delegation to Iceland to attend the first international conference on integrative health and healing, co-sponsored by the University of Iceland in cooperation with the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing and the School of Nursing. While in Iceland, Dean Delaney hosted a reception for alumni, partners, and friends of the University of Minnesota. The Minnesota team welcomed the opportunity to once again celebrate the long-standing relationship between the University of Minnesota and the University of Iceland.
Former President of Iceland, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, gave the welcome at the Ninth International Conference on Language Teacher Education, hosted by the U of M’s Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition. Madame Vigdis is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador of Languages of the World.
Also, Minnesota was host to the Icelandic National League of North America's convention May 14-17. New this year was a Research and Education Day that featured presentations by U of M faculty highlighting their collaborations with Iceland, including Design Thinking in Iceland, Energy and the Environment, Innovation and Collaboration, and Culture Detective–Iceland.
Left: Alumni listening to remarks by Dean Connie Delaney at the alumni reception in Iceland. Right: Madame Vigdís Finnbogadóttir with CARLA director Elaine Tarone
GO Minnesota Student Finds a Home in Minnesota
The GO Minnesota program offers international students semester and short-term opportunities to study at the University of Minnesota. Bernardo, an engineering student from Brazil, studied American Studies during the 2014-15 school year. He loved it so much, he plans to return to Minnesota to finish a degree in American Studies!
"The GO Minnesota program allowed me to not only experience college life in America having classes with great students and excellent professors, but also the chance to attend events with leaders of the business community and even with former American president Bill Clinton." — Bernardo, 2014-15 Minnesota Semester student
Do you know an international student who would like to study at the University of Minnesota for a semester or for a short-term program? Tell them to check out GO Minnesota's website or contact Leah Brink at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernardo with Goldy and the Little Brown Jug
Mestenhauser Legacy Burns Bright
A bright light in the field of international education has gone out, but its warmth and power shines on. A historic leader in the field of international education, Distinguished International Emeritus Professor Josef Mestenhauser passed away March 14. His path to significant influence began humbly, and he never forgot his own experience as an international student in the United States. His decades of work contributed to the success of the University of Minnesota as a leader in international education. The field, and this University, are stronger because of Joe's work. Our commitment to international education will be renewed as we remember his legacy.
Mestenhauser Student Awards
On May 8, Dr. Mestenhauser's legacy was reflected in the outstanding student recipients of the 2015 Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization.
Si Chen is a senior majoring in economics at the Morris campus. She has been actively involved in organizing many campus-wide events that promote international education and provide opportunities for increased engagement between domestic and international students. [Watch Si's digital story.]
Yizhou Ben Ma is a sophomore majoring in food science and minoring in sustainability studies at the Twin Cities campus. He has demonstrated a commitment to serving international students and fostering connections between domestic and international students on campus.
[Watch Ben's digital story.]
Mestenhauser Legacy Initiative
The Mestenhauser Legacy Initiative was launched in close consultation with Professor Mestenhauser to recognize his legacy to international education. Through this collection of innovative programs and scholarship, including an annual lecture and a student award competition, we strive to honor Professor Mestenhauser's legacy of working to broaden international understanding.
We thank Dr. Mestenhauser’s family for requesting that memorial gifts be directed to the Mestenhauser Legacy Fund to support activities that honor his commitment to international education.
U of M Memorial
The University of Minnesota will host a public memorial for Dr. Mestenhauser at the Twin Cities campus on Saturday, October 3, 2015, from
1:00 to 2:30 p.m., with a reception to follow.
To RSVP, please go to the Mestenhauser Legacy Initiative website.
Turn Great Ideas into Great Opportunities
Your philanthropic investment in the GPS Alliance Strategic Directions Fund will nurture “great ideas” that have too often withered on-the-vine for lack of a patron. This Fund provides the dean of international programs with flexible resources to respond quickly to emerging opportunities and help ensure that great ideas no longer become lost opportunities. Be a philanthropic partner with the GPS Alliance and help make an impact on our students, our campus, and our world!
Ways to Give
- Cash Gifts have immediate impact. You can make your gift of any size today by check or credit card.
- Electronic Funds Transfer is a regular withdrawal from your bank account or credit card. When making a gift at the University’s “Giving” site, click on “Make this a monthly gift.”
- Matching Gifts could effectively double, or perhaps even triple, the impact of your gift. See if your employer is in our database.
- Pledges are a smart way to make a larger gift over a period of time. (Minimum gift size required.) Contact Diane Young for a pledge form: 612-624-8819 or email@example.com
- Bequest and Future Gifts allow you to make a lasting impact on education, research, and discovery at the U of M.
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