The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Illinois International Programs are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 International Achievement Awards. The International Achievement Awards recognize outstanding alumni, faculty, and students whose exceptional work, service, and/or scholarship has made a significant, global impact.
The 2020 award recipients were invited to share their experiences and perspectives in a virtual panel over Zoom on October 21, 2020. If you missed the live event, you can watch the recording on YouTube (if you do not have access to YouTube, you can watch via Box).
The 2020 International Achievement Award recipients are:
Bambang P S Brodjonegoro
Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement
Dr. Peter Goldsmith
Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement
Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award
Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award
Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement Award
Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement Recipient
Bambang P S Brodjonegoro
Professor Bambang Brodjonegoro started his career as an academia in Universitas Indonesia, as a lecturer, researcher, and faculty dean. The opportunities to contribute to his country as the Minister of National Development Planning and Minister of Finance have established Prof. Brodjonegoro's career firmly in integrating Indonesia's research, technology, innovation, development planning, financing, and economic stabilization. He currently serves as the Minister of Research and Technology/Chief of the National Research and Innovation Agency of the Republic of Indonesia.
He has also actively participated in numerous local and international organizations, as well as several Indonesian companies. Those experiences have shaped his career and afforded him various essential soft-skills which benefit his work within the Republic of Indonesia and globally. He has received numerous honors and awards for this work. Learn more about Prof. Brodjonegoro.
Prof. Brodjonegoro earned his Master's and Ph.D. in Urbana and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997. He received his Bachelor's in Economics from the Universitas Indonesia in 1990.
Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement Recipient
Dr. Peter Goldsmith
Dr. Peter Goldsmith is the Professor and Director, Food and Agribusiness Management Program, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Goldsmith graduated in 1995 from the Ohio State University with a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics. From 1995-1999 he worked as an Assistant Professor, McGill University in Montreal and is currently a Professor of Agribusiness Management in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois. In addition to his Ph.D., Dr. Goldsmith has received an MBA in Finance, and undergraduate degrees in Dairy Science and Political Science. He is a leading scholar within the field of Agribusiness Management and is a Fellow of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association.
In addition to teaching Food Marketing, Dr. Goldsmith developed the world’s first course on agrifood supply chain management and blockchain applications. His research interest is global agro-industrial marketing and strategy specifically looking at intellectual property management, agricultural development, biotechnology, and supply chain management within soybean-livestock energy value chains. Dr. Goldsmith, having worked extensively in Mato Grosso, Brazil and Argentina, is one of the world’s leading soybean economists with unique expertise in low latitude soybean production and agro-industrial development. Dr. Goldsmith serves as the Director and Principal Investigator of USAID’s Feed the Future Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research, a $20m research enterprise that operates in 27 countries.
Before embarking on a career in academia, Dr. Goldsmith worked in the dairy industry as the assistant general manager of a cooperative and as a herdsman; and as a large animal specialist in the U.S. Peace Corps in South America.
Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award Recipient
Gloria Yen received a B.M. in Music History from the University of Illinois in 2011 before earning an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Her commitment to working alongside marginalized communities has led her to the fields of human development and disability studies, black oral history, and most recently, immigrant integration. As Director of the New American Welcome Center (NAWC) at the University YMCA, she has the great privilege of leading a mighty team of relentless advocates in pursuit of equitable access, economic opportunity, and meaningful belonging for immigrants in Champaign County where every 1 in 9 residents is foreign-born.
Gloria’s built upon a long legacy of welcoming at the University YMCA by cultivating strategic collaborations and programming to help address community-identified needs-- playing a central role in securing over $1 million in funding to support resource navigation initiatives, immigration legal services, access to justice, and community-bridge building efforts. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Gloria mobilized emergency rapid response efforts, using innovative outreach and service strategies to raise and distribute over $160,000 in emergency financial assistance, create a multilingual COVID-19 resource guide, and advocate for the inclusion of immigrant communities, regardless of status, in local and statewide relief efforts.
As a US DOJ Partially Accredited Representative, Gloria provides immigration legal representation for low-income and indigent persons in Champaign County. Gloria is also an appointed member of the Illinois Social Services Advisory Council and serves on the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission’s Community Action Board.
A current resident of Historic East Urbana (#urbanalove) and self-proclaimed foodie, you can find Gloria enjoying the Urbana Farmer’s market, trying new recipes (@gloria.yen) and watching YouTube videos of street food vendors across the world.
Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award Recipient
Born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sital Uprety was always cognizant about water and sanitation issues in his surroundings. Sital had first-hand opportunities to experience and learn about public health issues, water supply, and sanitation in his home country. Soon after he completed high school, Sital moved to Columbia, Missouri, and pursed B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He participated in water-related research since his freshman year and spent a summer in Texas A&M University researching improving wastewater efficiency.
Sital started his graduate program at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in 2014, and about a year after Sital joined the program in Illinois, Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015. Sital, along with his colleagues, organized a benefit concert featuring young and local bluegrass/folk musicians and raised close to $5000. Besides, through other fundraising events, he was able to raise close to $11,000. The raised fund was used to buy filtering units and distributed them to vulnerable families in Nepal. Such water filtering units are vital in preventing diarrheal diseases in families living in temporary housings, often in unsanitary conditions. The rest of the raised funds were used to start an initiative, Supporting Educational and Environmental Development in School (SEEDS) with a local non-profit, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO). For his research, Sital continued to work on the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) issues in Nepal but geared towards understanding how a newly introduced adaptation, response, and relief may prevent the spread of waterborne pathogens under stress caused by natural disasters, including earthquakes.
In addition to his efforts with earthquake relief and related research, Sital has also been involved in mentoring undergraduate students and exposing them to international research. Since 2014, he has led four two-month-long research trips to Nepal, consisting of undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds, and has engaged them in research projects in a complex environment with limited resources. Under his mentorship, students were responsible for collecting and processing water/sanitation samples, testing for different water quality parameters on-site, and DNA/RNA extraction of collected samples. Some students were also conducting surveys and focus group discussions with study participants. Undergraduate students on these trips learned a lot about these trips, and many expressed how it changed the way they look at things. Sital has always been proactive about student learning and thus always involves them in challenging yet interesting tasks. During these trips, Sital also hired local students with similar majors and got them paired for field visits and lab research. This provided a valuable opportunity for local students to participate in international research and learn about the sector's latest methodologies, which are often not taught in Nepal.
Motivated by his field trips, Sital and his colleague, Nora, designed and got funded ($15,000) for a graduate seminar (CEE 598 DEV) Interdisciplinary training for engineers and scientists: Bridging the gap for sustainable International Development Projects. The seminar trained graduate students on community assessment methods and appropriate technology selection, implementation practices, and management and development of long-term monitoring tools for evaluation and project sustainability. This course motivated graduate students to take initiatives in transitional research. He invited several national and international experts with different backgrounds to share their experiences, insights into their work, and answer students' queries.
Sital has been recognized with several prestigious fellowships, including National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) Fellowship, and several other travel fellowships. Sital recently started a new position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology (Eawag) as an Eawag Postdoctoral Fellow in Zurich, Switzerland. During this 2-year long fellowship, he will be working with Sanitation, Water, and Solid Waste for Development (Sandec) in studying the association of human behavioral response and water microbiome in flood-prone regions of Nepal.
Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement Award Recipient
Sophie Isolde Luijten
Sophie is a junior majoring in Global Studies and Spanish, with a concentration in Environmental Sustainability and Social Responsibility. She is dedicated to promoting climate justice and sustainable development. As a research assistant at the Safe Global Water Institute, she studied water potability and wastewater treatment in the pursuit of alternative water resources under the guidance of Dr. M.J. Plewa. She has engaged in immigrant advocacy as a Spanish Translator for the Immigration Project, where she translated letters of support for low-income immigrants, and as Integration Plan Intern at the New American Welcome Center, where she researched equitable community planning strategies in the development of a citywide immigrant integration plan. Additionally, she has contributed to service projects with the Hunger and Homelessness Project and Habitat for Humanity. On campus, Sophie serves as a Global Studies Leader, mentor for the Campus Honors Program, youth leader in the YMCA Climate Solutions Summit Team, and is a Chancellor’s Scholar, James Scholar, Bailey Scholar, and Dean’s List honoree. This summer, she was granted a Summer Research Award from the Campus Honors Program to research women’s empowerment strategies in the Global South under the guidance of Dr. Valeria Bonatti. Most recently, Sophie published her research paper, "Climate Change and Women’s Security: Case Study in Mozambique," in the HRI Environmental Humanities research publication, Defining Environments: Critical Studies in the Natural World. In February, she will present this research at the Seventeenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability, at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Through her coursework and extracurriculars, she aims to better understand connections between poverty, sustainability, and immigration to help create a more inclusive and robust society.