Awards ceremony highlights internationalization at ECU
East Carolina University celebrated International Education Week on Nov. 15 as faculty, staff and students were recognized for their commitment to growing internationalization at the university. This was the second year the awards were presented and more than $120,000 in scholarships were given to students.
ECU’s Office of Global Affairs hosted the event and assistant vice chancellor for global affairs, Jon Rezek said he was proud of what ECU has become and the support he has seen for growing internationalization at the university.
“It warms my heart to see all the enthusiastic faculty and staff,” said Rezek.
Chancellor Cecil Staton opened the ceremony by challenging those present to continue increasing the opportunities students have to experience people and cultures different than their own.
“To have that (international) experience will be a wonderful attribute that will serve our students well,” said Staton. “When I arrived at ECU about two and a half years ago, it was important that we think about being intentional about internationalization on our campus. We do need to make sure that our students are globally aware and prepared for the global knowledge-based economy they will be a part of throughout their lives.”
Thursday’s ceremony recognized faculty and staff members who provide and encourage students to seek opportunities that broaden their understanding of the world outside ECU through research, education and service.
Dr. Carl Haisch, an immunology and transplant surgeon and professor of surgery at the Brody School of Medicine, received the Award for Excellence in Teaching; Dr. Stephen Culver, professor and department chair in the Department of Geological Sciences, was presented the Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity; and associate professor in nursing science Dr. Kim Larson received the Impact Award for International Service and Engagement.
ECU staff member Nichelle Shuck, associate director of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, was presented the Staff Award for Achievement in International Service.
In addition to faculty and staff, two international students were recognized for their service to the community and academic achievement.
Farisal Bagsit, a doctoral student in the coastal resource management program, was recognized with the International Graduate Student Award. She came to ECU from the Philippines as a Fulbright Scholar in 2016.
“Since she’s been here, she’s been one of the brightest students in the program… and she’s working on something that’s near and dear to her heart. She is studying fishing communities and how closing fisheries affects her home country,” said Dr. Siddhartha Mitra, director of coastal resources management.
The International Undergraduate Student Award was presented to Marina Hobday by English teaching instructor Randal Martoccia. He discussed Hobday’s ability to bring students together to support one another by founding the “I Exist” movement, which tries to create connections between people with different backgrounds.
In addition, scholarships were awarded to help students pursue study abroad experiences over the next year.
Communications major Diana Xavier received the Thomas W. Rivers Foreign Exchange Scholarship, which she will use to study abroad in Australia during the spring semester. This will be the first time she has traveled abroad and her first time on an airplane. She hopes to attend law school after completing her undergraduate degree.
“I’m looking forward to being immersed in the culture, meeting new people and the independence that comes with traveling abroad,” said Xavier.
During the 2017-18 academic year, ECU had an 18 percent increase in curricular and co-curricular experiences abroad over the previous year. Additionally, ECU was named a top university for international students by U.S. News & World Report.
To close the ceremony, Provost Ron Mitchelson thanked the award winners for their work in making ECU a great place for international students to study and making opportunities available for students to experience different cultures. Also, he thanked Staton for his emphasis and support for increasing internationalization at ECU.
“This is an example of a celebration of all things international. We welcome students from far and near. We certainly want our students to have these experiences. It’s life changing,” said Mitchelson.