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MSU Presents International Awards

Published: Thursday, 24 Mar 2011
Author: Stephanie Motschenbacher
Department: Center for Advanced Study of International Development

On Wednesday, March 23, at its International Award Ceremony, the Office of International Studies and Programs celebrated staff, students and community members for their efforts to foster international understanding.

Held at the Spartan Club in Spartan Stadium, International Studies and Programs presented 11 members of the Spartan community with awards that have been established to honor several Michigan State University leaders in the areas of international research, teaching and engagement.

The pool of nominees and winners for is extraordinary, said Jeffrey Riedinger, dean of ISP.

For example, Richard Bernsten, professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resources Economics, is the winner of the 2011 Ralph Smuckler Award. The award, named in honor of a former ISP dean, is bestowed upon a senior faculty member who has had a lasting impact on international scholarship, teaching and public services.

Bernsten is receiving the award in recognition of his extensive global research and dedication to promote agricultural development in Asia, Africa and Latin America throughout a career that spans more than 40 years.

"I am proud to present this year's award winners," Riedinger said. "It is the exceptional efforts of people like these nominees and recipients that forge cross-cultural understanding and make communities like Lansing a place of learning and innovation that can transform the lives of people around the world."

Bernsten will join 10 other honorees, including MSU faculty members, students, staff, alumni and community members.
Other individual award recipients:

• Xiaodong Chen is the recipient of the Gill-Chin Lim Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Global Studies. Chen's dissertation titled, "Exploring the efficiency and effectiveness of payments for ecosystem services in China's Wolong Nature Reserve," has been noted by national and international news media for its significant findings. In it he explores the effect of government policy on human populations, and in turn, the effect of aggregate human culture on the environment.

• Daniel Boyd Kramer is the recipient of the John Hudzik Emerging Leader Award for Advancing International Studies and Programs. Kramer's research applies to the social, economic and policy aspects of conservation and biodiversity. He is focusing on the role of social capital in the stewardship activities of lake associations and is studying the effects of variations in fishermen behavior on coral reef ecosystems. He helped to secure a large grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate globalization and impact on remote communities near the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua.

• Kyung-Sun Kang received the Joon S. Moon Distinguished International Alumni Award. Kang completed three years of post-doctoral work as a stem cell researcher at MSU before becoming a full professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine and director of Adult Stem Cell Research Center at Seoul National University in South Korea. A brilliant research in his own right, Kang currently serves on the advisory board of the Ministry of Health in Korea and on the evaluation committee for the Korean Food and Drug Administration.

• Robert Kniss received the MSU Award for Outstanding Service to Study Abroad. Kniss is the financial liaison for MSU's study abroad programs. He has brought innovation to MSU, more closely partnering with the Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Study Abroad to study aboard more easily accessible to students. Kniss has also translated the difficult legal information of financial aid into user friendly language that can be easily understood by students and their parents.

• Susan Seyfarth is the recipient of the Glen L. Taggart Award for Community Contribution to International Understanding. Seyfarth, a third grade teacher in Holt Community Schools for more than 30 years, has been deeply involved in international education throughout her career. Seyfarth has positively impacted elementary students through iEARN, International Education and Resource network, and LATTICE, Linking all types of Teachers to International Cross-Cultural Education. Her goal has been to give students at an early age the opportunity to learn about different cultures in a welcoming atmosphere.

• Cholani Weebadde is the recipient of the Charles A. Gliozzo International Award for Public Diplomacy. Weebadde, assistant professor with the Department of Horticulture and Institute of International Agriculture, has focused on increasing awareness of biotechnology and bio-safety throughout the world. She is initiating several educational programs for Sri Lanka, which are now country-wide programs well-respected by the highest levels of government. Her global involvement extends beyond Sri Lanka, as the team leader for the MSU Biotechnology in South Asia Partnership Initiative.

• The Homer Higbee International Education Awards were also presented at the ceremony. These awards are presented annually to students and a member of Community Volunteers for International Programs for acts of service that enhance international communication, understanding and cooperation at MSU. The 2011 recipients include:

o Ruslan Mursalzade, MSU senior studying finance and president of the International Students Association
o Austin Melcher, MSU senior studying chemical engineering and student leader of the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience
o Mariana Wong, a master's of public health student
o Cheryl Highstreet, a retired public school teacher


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