Viswanathan to receive the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement
March 11, 2013 Champaign, IL – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will honor alumni, faculty, and students at the annual International Achievement Awards banquet on April 11 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center.
The 2012 International Achievement Award winners are:
• Dr. S. Ismat Shah – recipient of the Madhuri and Jagdish Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement
• Dr. Madhu Viswanathan – recipient of the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement
• Dr. Abram J. Bicksler – recipient of the Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award
• Rachel Lauren Storm – recipient of the Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award
• Tara R. McGovern – recipient of the Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement Award
Dr. S. Ismat Shah, a native of Pakistan, holds a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. Dr. Shah earned his Ph.D. in material science and engineering at Illinois in 1986. He will give the annual International Alumni Lecture at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on Thursday, April 11, at 9:00 a.m.
Established in 2000, the Madhuri and Jagdish Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement is awarded each year to one of the University’s distinguished international alumni who has helped to better their own nation or the world through their contributions to government, humanity, science, art, or human welfare. Dr. Shah is being honored for his humanitarian efforts in helping to raise funds and resources for Pakistani and Afghan refugees displaced by natural disaster and war; his promotion of higher education in Pakistan by building schools, providing equipment, delivering lectures and workshops; and advancing the use of alternative energy sources in developing nations from Eastern Europe to South Asia. The award also honors his long-standing commitment to promoting dialogue and fostering cross-cultural understanding between the Muslim community and other religious and social groups in Delaware, particularly after 9/11.
Dr. Madhu Viswanathan is Diane and Steven N. Miller Professor in Business at the University of Illinois. The Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement is presented to a faculty member who demonstrates exemplary accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service in the international arena. Dr. Viswanathan is being honored for his pioneering subsistence marketplace research in countries on several continents. The award recognizes his educational innovations in incorporating global challenges such as poverty and environmental sustainability into the curriculum and disseminating educational materials to educators around the world. Through these innovations, he is providing students with immersive, learning experiences, both in the classroom and in the field, and promoting sustainable business practices internationally. The award also recognizes his social initiative on marketplace literacy and empowerment through micro-level entrepreneurship, which has had measureable impact in the fight to alleviate poverty by elevating the standard of living for economically marginalized people in developing nations.
Dr. Abram J. Bicksler, director of Sustainability Research for the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, will receive the Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award. This award recognizes the meritorious contributions, research, and commitment of the University’s young international humanitarians. Dr. Bicksler is being honored for his work on sustainable tropical agriculture in Thailand and Cambodia, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to alleviating hunger and poverty among farming communities throughout Asia. He also works with the ECHO Asia Impact Center, which provides technical support for individuals and organizations working in agriculture and community development activities among smallholder farmers throughout Asia. He completed his M.S. and a Ph.D. in natural resources and environmental sciences at Illinois, focusing on sustainable vegetable production.
Rachel Lauren Storm is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in global educational policy studies with minors in gender and women's studies and gender relations in international development. The Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award recognizes her international volunteer work and activism, which focuses on anti-violence and justice among indigenous communities, as well as her educational outreach on women’s organizing, in Ecuador. She is the founder of the non-profit organization Four Walls and a Roof, aimed at supporting survivors of domestic violence. Ms. Storm holds a B.A. in international studies with a focus on gender development, and an Ed.M. in educational policy, organization, and leadership.
Tara R. McGovern will graduate in May with a B.A. in socio-cultural and linguistic anthropology, and minors in Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean studies. The Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement Award honors McGovern’s research and volunteer activities in Ecuador, where she helped found a free English school for adolescents and children in her host community. She has also worked to promote both study abroad and international education at the University of Illinois through her involvement and leadership in the Illinois Anthropology Club. She currently works at the Illinois Study Abroad Office as a peer advisor.