News & Press: Press Release

2020 Diversity & Inclusion Award Recipients Announced

Tuesday, March 31, 2020  
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BERKELEY, CAMarch 31, 2020 Diversity Abroad is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) and Global Student Leadership Awards. 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.


During this challenging time, it is important to recognize and celebrate individuals, institutions, and organizations who are committed to advancing diversity and inclusive excellence within international education. The awardees and their work will be recognized during the annual Awards Gala & Dinner at the 8th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference, Amplifying Voices: Moving From Rhetoric to Systemic Change in New Orleans, LA September 30-October 3, 2020. 


Organizational/Institutional Champion: CAPA: The Global Education Network

On behalf of everyone at CAPA, I am extremely honored to receive this recognition for our organization. Equity and inclusion are core parts of our mission and values. We seek to continually diversify our student body and to work with partners at colleges and universities to offer opportunities for students of all backgrounds and needs to have a successful and transformative abroad experience. We are inspired to continue to not only diversify the CAPA student body but also to continue to support programs such as the Diversity Abroad Innovation Award and new education abroad organizations that seek to improve equity and inclusion.- John Christian, President and CEO, CAPA: The Global Education Network

Outreach, Marketing, and Recruitment: Grand Valley State University

“Moving the needle on bringing study abroad to underrepresented populations of students is a real team effort, not only within the education abroad team, but with allies and partners across the campus, and in the community.” - Dr. Mark Schaub, Interim Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Student Engagement & Support: Xavier University of Louisiana

“On behalf of Xavier University, I want to thank the EDIIE Awards Committee for recognizing Xavier’s consistent commitment to providing equitable access for historically underrepresented students in the U.S., including participation in study abroad programs.  By challenging students to connect with multiethnic groups and increase awareness, content knowledge, and empathic recognition of the interconnectedness and complexity of cultures in the world, Xavier’s education abroad has helped the University in educating globally competent students.” - Dr. Anne McCall, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana     



Executive Leader Award: Chancellor Lee Lambert, Pima Community College District


“One of Chancellor Lambert’s great achievements has been the expansion of diversity and inclusion in all institutional dimensions, including the areas of global diversity and comprehensive internationalization. Under his leadership, PCC has developed its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan 2017-2020 (PCC-DEIP), where one of its six strategic goals is to ‘Prepare students, faculty and staff to adapt and succeed in a diverse, global, multicultural, multi-ethnic society.’ This includes study abroad objectives that emphasize helping minorities and less privileged students to participate in international education abroad.” Ricardo Castro-Salazar, Vice President for International Development, Pima Community College District

Trailblazer (10+ years experience): Dr. Penelope Pynes, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

“We are very happy to share the wonderful news that our very own, Dr. Penelope ‘Nell’ Pynes has received the 2020 Diversity Abroad EDIIE individual award. Nell has dedicated her career to advancing the field through innovative internationalization efforts while maintaining her commitment to inclusive practices. We are so very proud of how Nell continues to raise our national and international profile!” - Denise Bellamy, Senior Director of International Programs Center, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Rising Star (2-10 years experience): Neal McKinney, DePauw University

“I have worked with Neal since he joined our team in 2015, and without a doubt, he has helped our office support all students interested in off-campus experiences. What he should be most proud of during his time here at DePauw is dedication to driving inclusive practices within our office, the university as a whole, as well as the field of education abroad. He has been adept at noticing barriers to access for underrepresented student populations and has developed various interventions around systemic barriers that impact participation through increasing outreach and visibility of off-campus study programs.” - Mandy Brookins, Associate Dean of Experiential Learning and Director of Off-Campus Programs, DePauw University



Graduate Student: Omar Nedzelsky, Jr., University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley

“A Peer-Leader in Study Abroad, for Omar Nedzelsky, Jr. it wasn't enough to study abroad once, and it wasn't enough to simply do so himself. When asked to reflect on those who helped him make study abroad a reality, Omar stated: ‘I was part of a program at my university called the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). They helped me fund my trip through scholarships. I wanted to return the favor and help other students have the same opportunity and experience as I did—coming from that same migrant background. Leading up to my second trip (once again to London), I managed to organize, counsel, and be an advocate for six CAMP students that really wanted to study abroad. As a result, I was able to help these students receive more than $2,500 each in scholarships to create their own educational experience abroad.’” - Hernando Sevilla-Garcia, Senior Diversity Relations Manager, IES Abroad


Undergraduate Student: Jazzlyn Hatcher, University of South Alabama

“As an International Education Ambassador for the office of International Education at our university[…] Jazzlyn reassures fellow students who have reservations or insecurities about studying abroad, especially those from underrepresented groups. [...] During her time in South Korea, Jazzlyn received some attention by being a person of color in a homogenous society. She wanted to remedy any instances of hesitance of student travel to this country by actually encouraging them to go in order to foster diversity, awareness, and understanding. She is currently the president of the Korean student organization on campus which is dedicated to spreading knowledge about the Korean culture. Under her leadership, she has hosted a number of campus-wide events that have united students who have a curiosity for cultures. She believes that the best way to foster inclusion is through education and the dissemination of personal experiences. She uses her platform to encourage people to travel abroad and counsel prospective study abroad students who have concerns.” - Jan-Dominique Santos, Education Abroad Advisor, University of South Alabama


Diversity Abroad would like to recognize the finalists for the following individual award categories:

Rising Star:

Kory Saunders, North Carolina State University

Hernando Sevilla-Garcia, IES Abroad

Darin Smith-Gaddis, CAPA: The Global Education Network


Dr. Laura Engel, George Washington University

Allegra Laing, Elon University

Dr. David Wick, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Diversity Abroad would like to thank the distinguished members of the Award Selection Committee for their work to identify the 2020 recipients:

  • Eduardo Contreras, University of Portland

  • Dafina Blacksher Diabate, Lincoln University

  • Helena Gillespie, University of East Anglia

  • Angela Howard, West Chester University

  • Josh McKeown, SUNY Oswego

  • Kari Knutson Miller, California State University, Fullerton



Diversity Abroad is the leading membership organization that inspires and supports educators, policy makers, industry professionals and other stakeholders in leveraging global educational programs to support the academic success, interpersonal development and career readiness of students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. 


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 Awards recognize and celebrate 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.