2018 International Awards Ceremony Recipients

Ralph H. Smuckler Award for Advancing International Studies and Programs at MSU

Recognizes senior faculty members for their significant and lasting impact on the advancement of international scholarship, teaching, and public service at MSU.

kaneene.jpgJOHN KANEENE

John is a university distinguished professor of epidemiology and public health in the College of Veterinary Medicine. His research on infectious zoonotic diseases spans across 20 countries and five continents over his 35-year career. While at MSU, he has received continuous external funding from numerous sources such as NIH, USAID, USDA—FAS, USDA—Borlaug Fellowships, the Mastercard Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Carnegie Fellowship Foundation, totaling over 17 million dollars in support.

John K. Hudzik Emerging Leader in Advancing International Studies and Programs

Recognizes a faculty member who is making a significant impact early in their career on the advancement of international scholarship, teaching, and/or public service and outreach at MSU.

mbabazi2.jpgRUTH MBABAZI

Ruth is a research assistant professor in the Department of Entomology. Her scholarship is noticeably cross-disciplinary. Not only has Ruth assisted in diversifying soybean varieties in Uganda and cotton varieties in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Swaziland, she has also established an African Lawyers Network for biotechnology, comprised of 42 African lawyers, that serves as a resource for both the private and public sectors. Her involvement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the African Union/ NEPAD agency has led to collaborative research in 14 countries, ranging from biotechnology and regulation to a new malaria mosquito control project. Ruth also coordinates the African Female Studies Empowerment Program at MSU.

Joon S. Moon Distinguished International Alumni Award

Recognizes an international alumni who has brought special credit to MSU through professional achievements. The award is named after MSU international alumnus and prominent Korean- American businessman Joon S. Moon.


Baik Chul came to Michigan State University to study and complete his master's and PhD in the School of Criminal Justice. He has continued to work in the field of criminal justice, demonstrating his propensity for innovation as a professor at Kyonggi University. As the president of the MSU Alumni Association Korea, Baik Chul fostered and expanded the MSU Korean Music concert into a hugely successful multi-country celebration. While at Kyonggi University, he has held several administrative roles such as Dean of the Office of International Studies and Programs and Dean of the Office of Academic Affairs. During his time at International Studies and Programs, Baik Chul assisted in designing a student exchange program between MSU and Kyonggi University.

Gill-Chin Lim Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Global Studies

Acknowledges a graduate student for an outstanding doctoral dissertation, completed the preceding year and focusing on global studies. This award is named after the late Dr. Gill-Chin Lim, MSU Professor of Geography and Urban Planning and Dean of International Studies and Programs.


Rowenn completed her doctoral dissertation, entitled "Environmental Stewardship and the Production of Subjectivities: Indigenous, Scientific, and Economic Rationalities in Ancash, Peru" at MSU in 2017. Her research focused on political ecology in Peru, specifically environmental governance, resource management, indigeneity, and gender. Rowenn received multiple fellowships and recognitions during this time, including: Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships (allowing her to learn Quechua), an ISP international predissertation research grant, Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Fellowship, and GenCen's Rita Gallin Award for best graduate student paper on gender.

MSU Award for Outstanding Service to Education Abroad

Recognizes faculty and staff who give their time, energy, and creativity to develop and implement education abroad programs that support MSU's commitment to providing students with high-quality international education opportunities.

lucas.jpgJAMES LUCAS

James currently serves as Assistant Dean for Global Education and Curriculum. His background is in international relations with a PhD on the male gender imbalance in education abroad. James has been a champion of the Freshmen Seminar Abroad programs during his time at MSU. He has designed and led FSA programs, recruited faculty and staff, advised students and parents, and established new programs. He has continued his PhD work, focusing on the relatively lower numbers of men who participate in global learning. In developing a program to Italy, James collaborated with fraternity brothers on the design, implementation, and assessment of a program focused on men and masculinity.

Homer Higbee International Education Awards

Presented to students and community members part of the Community Volunteers for International Programs (CVIP) who have made significant contributions to the advancement of international communication, understanding, and cooperation through service activities. This award was established to honor Homer Higbee, a former member of the International Studies and Programs staff who dedicated his career to international educational exchange.

malas2.jpgSUMAYA MALAS

Sumaya holds many titles: Muslim Studies Caucus Chair on the James Madison Student Senate, director of community outreach with the Muslim Students Association, student representative on the James Madison College Inclusion Committee, executive board member of Project Nur, and founder and president of the United Madison Multicultural Association. These titles demonstrate Sumaya's dedication to serving her many communities. She has a passion for encouraging cross-cultural dialogue and creating a more inclusive MSU, working to dispel misconceptions of Islam and to address Islamophobia on campus.

vellanki2.jpgVIVEK VELLANKI

Vivek is an international student currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the College of Education at MSU. His work focuses on preparing educators with a global perspective, no matter where they decide to work. His appreciation for the benefits of a global approach to teaching stems from his personal experience growing up in four different cities in India, speaking three languages, and living in two different countries. Vivek's research focuses on what it means to be a transnational student in an age of increasingly hostile immigrant sentiment. He aims to develop international awareness around issues of educational research and practice.


Barbara currently serves as the co-coordinator of the CVIP International Lending Center, which provides needed household supplies to international students. She also assists with the administration of the I-Speak program which provides international speakers for local schools and organizations. Through the International Friendship Program, she has offered emotional and financial support, housing, and a welcoming atmosphere to MSU international students for many years. Last year, she hosted Thanksgiving for more than 20 students.

Charles A. Gliozzo International Award for Public Diplomacy

This award recognizes members of the greater MSU community, who are making significant contributions to public diplomacy through educating, training or promoting knowledge and understanding between faculty, staff, community members, and international students, scholars and visitors.


Kurt Dewhurst and Marsha MacDowell's international work began in Western Europe, but quickly expanded to work in Thailand and ultimately to long-term connections in South Africa and China. Over careers spanning 41 years, Kurt and Marsha have fostered programming that has impacted many MSU faculty, students, and community members both locally and globally. In 2006, they established the only museum studies course on the African continent. In 2007 they established the Nelson Mandela Museum and MSU Museum Graduate Student Curatorial Fellowship. Here in Lansing they have organized an annual Folklife Festival for more than 30 years.

Glen L. Taggart Award for Community Contributions

Recognizes citizens of the State of Michigan who have made a distinct, sustained contribution to international understanding in their respective communities or in the state at large.

lubeski.jpgNANCY LUBESKI

After completing Peace Corps service in Tunisia, Nancy enrolled in a master's of education program at MSU, her undergraduate alma mater. It was then she became involved in LATTICE, a learning community and international network of K-12 teachers that cultivates and supports a global perspective in K-12 classrooms. Since then, Nancy has worked creatively and tirelessly to instill the importance of crosscultural understanding. She is currently the principal of Wexford Montessori Academy, serves as the board president of LATTICE, and the vice president for global education in the Greater Lansing United Nations Association. In addition to these roles, she continues to actively seek out international opportunities to bring back to Michigan classrooms.