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GoAbroad.com award winners announced

The fourth annual GoAbroad.com Innovation Awards took place in San Diego this year during NAFSA’s annual conference. Delegates gathered to recognise the winners of ten awards celebrating innovative approaches to work and study abroad, technology and marketing among US universities and providers.

GoAbroad.com founder Troy Peden introduces the awards.

"The winner was a first generation college student who is helping other first generation college students go abroad, so it gave me chills a little bit"

“The fact that we won an award is a nice confirmation that the things we’re doing to add to our programmes are of value”

This year STA Travel sponsored a new category, “Start the Adventure”, which offers a $1000 cash prize for both the winner and their instituion.

This year Michelle Tolan and the Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University (IFSA-Butler), where she is Field Director for Diversity Access and Research took home the new award.

“The winner was a first generation college student who is helping other first generation college students go abroad, so it gave me chills a little bit,” Troy Peden, GoAbroad.com’s founder, told The PIE News.

While institutions could nominate themselves for many of the categories, the finalists for the three “Innovative New Programme” awards had to receive outside nominations to be considered.

“The five nominees of the study abroad provider [awards] were really winners because they got the nomination from the university offices,” commented Peden. “Those advisors have heard from their students or their faculty that these are the good organisations.”

Alex Paisner, Sales and Marketing Manager of Global Experiences, which won the Internship Abroad award for “Executing a Strengths-Based Approach to Career Development-Focussed International Internships”, told The PIE News that they had finished finalist for three years before winning.

“Winning is a nice affirmation. We don’t do it to win GoAbroad’s Innovation Award, necessarily – everything we do is very student-centric – but the fact that we won an award is a nice confirmation that the things we’re doing to add to our programmes are of value,” he said.

“We work really closely with our students,” he continued. “We get under their skin a little bit to find out about their motivations… and we try to figure out if our programme will be a good bridge to help them get there.”

See more photo from the awards here. Full list of winners of the 2014 GoAbroad.com Innovation Awards:

Innovation in Access & Equality
University of South Carolina: Beyond Boundaries Initiative

Innovation in Marketing/Social Media
Loyola University Chicago: Vietnam Center Street Eats

Innovative New Programme – Internship Abroad
Global Experiences: Executing a Strengths-Based Approach to Career Development-Focussed International Internships

Innovative New Programme – Study Abroad
Cleveland State University & Asia Institute: Follow the Smart Phone Trail

Innovative New Programme – Volunteer Abroad
African Impact: Maasai Literacy Programme – Moshi, Tanzania

People’s Choice
Academic Programs International (API)

STA Travel Start the Adventure
Michelle Tolan, IFSA-Butler

Student Video
Gorazd Lazorik, Cultural Vistas: 4400 Miles Closer to a Dream

Innovation in Sustainability
Foundation for International Education: London Student Switch Off Campaign

Innovative Technology
RealCom Abroad: Abroadster Help Center

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