Diversity Abroad is excited to announce Sylvia Schell of the University of Georgia as the recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Diversifying International Education Award (EDIE)! The award celebrates the work of outstanding individuals who have developed inclusive practices that increase access, foster diversity and inclusion in international education and promote an inclusive environment for international students on campus.
Ms. Schell’s nomination highlighted her commitment to developing initiatives that support diverse student populations and creating inclusive practices on the University of Georgia’s campus, in particular for international students and scholars. Among her achievements, Ms. Schell has developed programming intended to encourage dialogue between the domestic and international communities on campus, and has developed an “International Scholars Hosting Manual” to educate sponsoring department staff about the resources available to the international visitors. Moreover, her engagement in campus and citywide diversity initiatives demonstrate her dedication to expanding opportunities for diverse and underrepresented students in the greater Athens area.
In response to receiving the award, Ms. Schell offers, “I am genuinely grateful and humbled to be selected as the inaugural recipient of the Diversity Abroad’s Excellence in Diversifying International Education Award. This recognition is a strong validation of our work in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for international students and scholars at University of Georgia. Thank you Diversity Abroad for your commitment in supporting this work, and raising the profile of a most important cause – integrating diversity with international education.”
In Dr. Kavita Pandit’s nomination she noted that Ms. Schell’s “motivation comes from a genuine empathy for the visiting internationals and a desire for their experience at the University of Georgia and the United States to be the best that it can be.” Most notable were the quotes Dr. Pandit referenced from the students and scholars themselves who had such high praises for Ms. Schell. One student offered that “to begin your life at UGA, you must meet Sylvia first.” An enthusiastic international scholar noted that “[Sylvia] is keen to know about one’s culture and tradition and encourages a wide variety of of diverse scholars to present their views.” Diversity Abroad is excited to celebrate Ms. Schell and her achievements.
Ms. Schell will present the 2014 Excellence in Diversifying International Education Award at the Second Annual Diversity Abroad Conference that will take place at the University of San Diego in San Diego, CA on March 31st and April 1st. Nominations for the 2014 award will open in October and will be accepted through January 2014.