Global Citizenship Award Recipients for 2012-13 Announced

The International Programs staff congratulates the 2012-13 Global Citizenship Award recipients listed below.

They are recognized for their commitment to international and intercultural awareness, their contributions to improve the climate for people of other cultures at UST, and the connections they make between the UST community and the world.

International Programs thanks everyone who nominated someone for the awards and every member of the St. Thomas community who is committed to global issues and understanding. The awards were presented at the annual GMSA International Dinner held Saturday, April 13.

Undergraduate Student Award: Mathew Vicknair

UST senior Mathew Vicknair is president of the Globally Minded Student Association. While at St. Thomas, he has been involved actively with the international population on campus. He helped initiate the Global Conflicts Seminar Program, engaged in planning events such as CultureFest and the International Dinner, and acted as an international mentor for three semesters. He played an integral part in planning co-sponsored GMSA events, partnering with the Muslim Student Association, the Geography Club, the Sociology Club, and the Criminal Justice Club. Off campus he interned at the International Institute of Minnesota, presented a poster at the Midwest Sociological Society on “The Perceptions of Microloans and Female Self-Sufficiency: A Study Into the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” has co-written a book about the experiences and effects of global immigration, served as a Citizenship of the World counselor for Boy Scouts of America, and has visited 25 countries outside of the United States.

Undergraduate Faculty Award: Dr. Adil Ozdemir, Theology

Originally from Turkey, Dr. Adil Ozdemir taught Quranic and Arabic studies for 26 years at the Dokuz Eylul University. His courses on Islam are popular, both on campus and abroad. “I have heard from many international students how Dr. Ozdemir conducts his Islam course,” said his nominator, “and it is one of the best examples of international and intercultural awareness on campus. He constantly is breaking down stereotypes surrounding Islam and its followers.” In addition to the theology courses he teaches on Islam, Ozdemir serves as adviser for the Muslim Student Association. He is co-director of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center, which collaborates with Muslim and Christian scholars and theologians locally and globally in addressing the differences and similarities between the two faith traditions.

Graduate Faculty Award: Dr. Len Jennings, Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Dr. Len Jennings teaches a J-Term course in Singapore titled “Diversity in Counseling,” the only study abroad course available to graduate students in that field. “Dr. Len Jennings embodies multicultural competence as a clinician, professor and a human being,” said one of his nominators. “He is an amazing resource for learning how to work cross culturally and to navigate the difficult questions and issues that come up in the process.” Jennings strives to bring a global perspective to all of his courses and consequently to all UST graduate students and the next generation of professionals in his field. The award committee was impressed not only by the amount of work that Jennings has put into globalizing his curriculum but also by the passion for diversity and intercultural understanding that he has passed on, as witnessed by the people who nominated him.

Staff Award: Center for Writing – Dr. Susan Callaway, director

Since 2003, the UST Center for Writing has engaged in a number of intercultural initiatives under the direction of Dr. Susan Callaway. Its peer consulting course now requires training on cultural identity, issues that immigrant and international populations face, and the challenges of learning the English language. The peer writing consultant prep course includes a service learning component, partnering with Wellstone International High School, Higher Ground Academy, Hmong College Preparatory Academy, and Abraham Lincoln High School. In addition, the Center for Writing staff actively collaborates with the ELS Language Center, the international student advisers in Academic Counseling, and other faculty at UST who are involved with the international population on campus. “We have come to understand," Callaway said, “that multilingual immigrant students and international students face complex academic and personal challenges at UST.” With her vision and the support of its staff, the Center for Writing now has an ESL Squad and an alert system that enables a network of concerned and skillful parties to meet the needs of culturally diverse students on campus.