Held at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles during the annual NAFSA conference and exhibition, the seventh annual awards recognised innovation within study abroad.
CISabroad scooped the People’s Choice award, one of two categories decided by public vote. “In this time in US history, it feels like our work is more important than ever, that people are being transformed in their international experiences,” president, Kris Holloway, told The PIE News.
“It means a lot that we’re being recognised for the heart and the energy and the work that we’re putting into our organisation.”
“Innovation is really there to bring more participants to these programs, that’s the whole idea”
Queens University of Charlotte received the Innovative New Program, Study Abroad award, for its program which sent journalism students to cover the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year.
Winning the Innovation in Philanthropy award was Maya Universe Academy in Nepal for its Education & Livelihood Projects for Earthquake Victims.
And the winner of the award for Innovation in Marketing and Digital Media was Arizona State University’s study abroad office, which developed a faculty-led marketing toolkit, which was used to empower faculty directors to expand their student reach.
LaSharon McLean Perez was also recognised for her work in study abroad, winning the STA Travel Start the Adventure award.
“LaSharon dedicated her life to the study abroad office at the University of California Riverside,” said Nikki Powers, chief commercial officer at GoAbroad.com, presenting the awards.
“She has an infectious positivity and passion for her work that is inspiring and captivating.”
The awards were judged by an academy panel, with two of the awards, Innovative Student Video and the People’s Choice award, open for public votes.
GoAbroad.com marks its 20th anniversary this year. Founder Troy Peden reflected on the last two decades at the event.
“College wasn’t necessarily a given for me, so to go from that small town experience with really limited perspectives, to be here and be able to influence potentially a million young people every month is so powerful,” he told The PIE News.
“I’m just so grateful for the industry, the opportunity and the good fortune that we’ve had to have that voice.”
Peden agreed with award winners that celebrating innovation in study abroad is “particularly important” right now.
“Innovation is really there to bring more participants to these programs, that’s the whole idea,” he said.
“And the fact that people in this industry are willing to share their ideas is a testament to the nature and the mission of this industry.”
Full list of winners:
Innovation in Alumni Engagement: Purdue Study Abroad – When the (Study Abroad) Students Become the Teachers: Global Leadership Mentors
Innovation in Diversity: District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) – DCPS Study Abroad
Innovation in Philanthropy: Maya Universe Academy – Education & Livelihood Projects for Earthquake Victims
Innovation in Sustainability: Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture – Ethnographic Field School
Innovative Technology: IES Abroad – Virtual Tours with VR Readers
Innovation in Marketing and Digital Media: Study Abroad Office at Arizona State University – Faculty-Led Marketing Toolkit
Innovative New Program, Volunteer Abroad: African Impact – The Build-It Project
Innovative New Program, Intern Abroad: Global Experiences & Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – Accelerated Internship Abroad Experience
Innovative New Program, Study Abroad: Queens University of Charlotte – Queens at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
The STA Travel Start the Adventure Award: LaSharon McLean Perez, University of California Riverside
Innovative Student Video: “University of Utah Promo Reel” by Ethan Beseris, CEA Study Abroad
People’s Choice: CISabroad