News & Press: Press Release

2017 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in Intl Ed & Global Student Leadership Award Recipients

Thursday, March 2, 2017  
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BERKELEY, CA—March 2, 2017 Diversity Abroad is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) and Global Student Leadership Awards. Chosen from recommendations made by the 2017 Awards Review Committee, this year’s recipients have demonstrated a commitment to advancing diversity and inclusive excellence within international education on an individual, institutional, and organizational level, as well as students who represent Diversity Abroad’s mission to diversify global education.


The recipients will be presented with their awards at the 5th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference, Embracing the Future of Global Education, in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 22, 2017.



The EDIIE Institutional Award for 2017 is awarded to the University of South Florida. As a higher education institution serving 49,000 students, the university has generated an impressive 43% increase in study abroad participation in the past three years. The university has also made significant investments of financial support for Pell-eligible students. In 2015, $368,000 in financial aid grants supported 258 students studying abroad and in 2016, $372,500 supported 261 Pell Grant students who embarked on summer study abroad programs. Thirty-nine percent of education abroad participation is from students of color. The University of South Florida has achieved laudable gains enfranchising underrepresented students in education abroad through strategic partnerships and innovative programming, such as through the 2016 Diversity Series: “Black & Abroad” with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Department of Africana Studies, and the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean; “Beyond Just an Amazing Experience: Translating Study Abroad into Workforce Readiness” with USF Career Services; and “Don’t Let Emotional Baggage Weigh You Down” with the Mental Health Management office and with the Honors College and College of Behavioral Sciences.  Since the inception of the series in 2013, the university has seen, for example, a 67 percent increase in the number of Black students participating in study abroad programs. Additionally, the university’s current Quality Enhancement Plan, the Global Citizens Project annually awards approximately 45 USF undergraduate students who have earned (or are pursuing) the comprehensive Global Citizen Award with a $2,500 study abroad scholarship. Each semester, USF’s GloBull Ambassadors programs provides 50 study abroad alumni the opportunity to connect with their peers regarding the benefits of study abroad to academic achievement, personal growth, and career readiness. These ambassadors help to design and implement the Diversity Series with content, engage in recruitment for nontraditional study abroad destinations in Asia and Latin America, and help underrepresented students envision themselves as world travelers.

“We are tremendously honored and grateful to the Awards Review Committee for the selection of the University of South Florida as the 2017 recipient of the EDIIE Award.  The recognition reinforces and invigorates our commitment to a collaborative and holistic approach to diversity in international education. USF students have embraced our efforts to become more diverse and inclusive abroad, and they continually inspire our work on a daily basis.  We are strengthened by diversity as an institution and are proud to partner with the Diversity Abroad Network. The resources and guidance offered by the Network and its members have provided us with confidence to tackle such difficult challenges in our field,” said Amanda C. Maurer, Director, Education Abroad.  

Honorable Mention: University of Pittsburgh, Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership, University Center for International Studies.


The EDIIE Organizational Award for 2017 is awarded to the Foundation for International Education. FIE is a London-based, non-profit educational organization, providing programs in partnership with approximately 50 university partners as well as individual student enrollment in London, Dublin, and Amman for undergraduate students. In 2012, FIE established a Diversity and Inclusivity Team to evaluate their provision for diversity and inclusion, internally and externally. This included data collection and comprehensive evaluations of their services and programs, resulting in the development of new resources, innovative practices and strategies for diversity and inclusion. For example, the LGBTQ and Allies FIE Interest Group (FIG) was established to bring together students, encourage community while abroad and to share ideas and resources through common interests. FIE also developed inclusive and accessible web resources and comprehensive trainings for their staff on equality and diversity. In 2014, FIE established the Diversity and Inclusivity Scholarship Route which exemplifies the organization’s commitment to increasing access for education abroad to high-financial need students and to other diverse student populations. This program provides funding, mentorship, and advising for students to implement their proposed projects. To date, twenty-two students have been awarded scholarships and have engaged in projects such as: 1) dialogue groups on national identity, social justice, and social inequality, 2) film project on multiculturalism and multi-religious identity through site visits at places of worship in the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Jain communities in Leicester, and 3) FIE blog, the organization’s first ever student blogger who wrote content on “Tips for Future Students”, “Diversity and Inclusivity”, and “Life in London”.


Dr. Julie Andreshak-Behrman, Chief Academic Officer said on behalf of FIE: “We thank the Awards Review Committee for selecting FIE and are honored to receive this award.  It will no doubt serve to inspire us to further our journey towards creating the best, most supporting environment for all students on our programs. By seeking out and helping to develop the contributions of diverse students within the study abroad environment, a tremendous depth is added to the learning, living and working experiences for everyone in the FIE community.”



The recipient of the 2017 EDIIE Individual Award is Irene Scott, Program Coordinator, Study Abroad Programs Office, Texas A & M University. A ten-year veteran of her post, Irene was nominated by 15 staff members as the office’s champion for diversity and inclusion in education abroad. She created the Diversity Committee which enabled the office to centralize staff members’ efforts around diversity and inclusion, created online resources for increased accessibility, established guidelines for advising underserved students, and developed assessments to inform internal decision-making around diversity and inclusion. Her peers stated that the office has “thrived” from the linkages Irene has established with student service units committed to diversity and inclusion (i.e., in partnership with Disability Services she provided a student with accommodations to study abroad with a service animal). Her tireless efforts serving as a liaison for students utilizing the Texas Tomorrow Fund and Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan resulted in 17 students pursuing international opportunities in 2015-16. Her unwavering commitment to students and inclusion is evidenced in these examples and much more. Irene has served on the Diversity Abroad Network’s 2015 - 2016 and 2016-2017 Access for Disabilities Abroad Task Force.

“Irene’s commitment to ensuring that all Texas A&M University students have access to transformational, international experiences has been a true asset and inspiration to everyone in the Study Abroad Programs Office. We are very proud of her and are so pleased she received this well deserved recognition,” stated Dr. Jane Flaherty, Director, Student Abroad Programs Office.


Devin Walker is a doctoral student in Curriculum & Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin and is a Graduate Assistant in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence. Devin has “completely transformed the face of study abroad at the institution”, said Dr. Charles Lu, Executive Director and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Some examples of Devin’s leadership include the Diversity Abroad Showcase he founded in 2013. The annual event is attended by prospective students interested in studying abroad and 175 study abroad alumni who present their narratives about learning abroad. He has also created, facilitated and helped to institutionalize a series of study abroad writing workshops designed to support diverse students with their essays and the application process. Since the program’s inception in 2014, it has served more than 200 students, many of whom were accepted into their respective programs. In addition, Devin routinely leads workshops on diversity and inclusion in education abroad for student organizations, and has facilitated workshops for the 2016 Iraqi Fulbright Scholars, the admissions office, as well as a training session for the Study Abroad Office on engaging black men in study abroad. More recently, he served as a program coordinator and teaching assistant for an award-winning, faculty-led program to Cape Town and Beijing. Devin’s service to diversifying study abroad extends beyond the university campus; he has served on the 2015-2016 Diversity Abroad Task Force on Men, and this year’s Diversity Abroad Conference planning committee. Devin’s dissertation will explore the impact of study abroad programs on student athletes.



Hunter Zhao is a junior honors student at the University of Michigan majoring in Sociology and History and a peer advisor at the Center for Global and Intercultural Study. As a first-generation, Chinese American student, Hunter has studied abroad in Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, and Greece and said this about his opportunities abroad: “The Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates was an ideal program for someone like me who comes from a low-income, working-class family because it changed my career path and sparked my passion in global education.” Hunter serves on the University of Michigan’s Campus Climate Committee where he collaborates with a team of students and administrators to determine campus trends that affect the lives of students, whether domestic or abroad. He is presently serving as a site leader for Immigration and Refugee Rights, Michigan Active Citizens: University of Michigan’s Alternative Spring Break program and is leading initiatives to advocate for and support first-generation college students and higher education institutions working to remove the barriers facing undocumented students. “Hunter has demonstrated a passion and commitment to the field of diversity and inclusion by developing mentoring relationships with his peers and university administration, and by leading discussions about identity in pre-departure orientation sessions. He has an exceptional work ethic, perseverance, and ambition to implement ideas and actions that embody diversity and inclusion,” said Ebony Ellis, Senior Intercultural Programs Advisor, Center for Global Intercultural Study.


Diversity Abroad would like to thank the distinguished members of the Award Selection Committee for their work to identify the 2017 recipients:

  • Vivian-Lee Nyitray, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost & Executive Director, Education Abroad Program, University of California Riverside

  • Grace Johnson, Director of Education Abroad, Office of International Affairs, The Ohio State University

  • James Pasquill, Director of International Programs, Office of Global Affairs, The State University of New York

  • Kate McNamee Ireland, Director, Global Education, Office of Teaching & Learning, District of Columbia Public Schools

  • Kiana Chan, Student at University of California Los Angeles

  • Margaret (Maggie) Kelley, Student at Georgia Institute of Technology


The Diversity Abroad Network is the leading professional consortium of educational institutions, government agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusive good practices that increase access, achieve equitable diversity and foster inclusive excellence in global education. Diversity Network members support the important work that the Diversity Network engages in to advance research, develop effective advising tools, and offer learning and development opportunities essential to creating equitable access to global education.


Through the Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education Awards, Diversity Abroad celebrates outstanding institutions, organizations, and 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. The Global Student Leadership Award recognizes and celebrates outstanding students who represent Diversity Abroad’s mission to diversify global education and demonstrate a commitment to foster diversity and inclusion in global education through their studies, campus engagement, or community building efforts, writ large.