The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois International Programs are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 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 recipients will be celebrated for their work at the annual International Achievement Awards Banquet on November 20, 2019 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center in Urbana. The recipients will also participate in a panel discussion titled “Entrepreneurship & Research in a Global Context” on November 20, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. The panel is free and open to the public and breakfast is provided (RSVP not required but appreciated).
The 2019 International Achievement Award recipients are:
Dr. Jimmy W. Smith
Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement
Dr. Larry Di Girolamo
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
Dr. Jimmy W. Smith
Jimmy W. Smith, a Guyanese and Canadian citizen, is currently Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a position he assumed in October 2011. ILRI (www.ilri.org) is an international research organization in the family of CGIAR Centres working towards a food secure world. ILRI’s work focuses on livestock research for sustainable development.
Before joining ILRI, Smith worked for the World Bank, in Washington, DC, where he led the Bank’s Global Livestock Portfolio. Working at the corporate level, he anchored the bank’s investments on sustainable livestock development and mitigating the threat of zoonotic diseases with pandemic potential.
Prior to his tenure at the World Bank, Smith held senior positions at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Still earlier in his career, Smith worked at ILRI and its predecessor, the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), where he served as the institute’s regional representative for West Africa and later as director of its global program on crop-livestock-natural resource integration. Before his decade of work at ILCA/ILRI, Smith held senior positions in the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI-Trinidad) and the Livestock Development Company (LIDCO-Guyana).
Jimmy Smith is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, where he completed MSc and PhD degrees in animal sciences. He is widely published, with more than 100 publications, including papers in refereed journals, book chapters, policy papers and edited proceedings.
Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement Recipient
Dr. Larry Di Girolamo
Dr. Larry Di Girolamo is the Blue Waters Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Daniel Shapiro Professorial Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a B.Sc. in Astrophysics from Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, in 1989, and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from McGill University, Montreal, PQ, in 1996. He joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1998, where he conducts research aimed at quantifying the role of cloud and aerosol processes in global climate change and the role of aerosol pollution on human health with a focus on Southeast Asia. He works extensively on national and international collaborations to develop and deploy surface, air and space-based observing systems for cloud and aerosol research, and the subsequent analysis of the data to help inform science and policy on matters of air pollution and climate change.
Dr. Di Girolamo has received numerous awards over his professional career, including the NASA New Investigator Award in Earth Science, NASA Achievement Awards on four separate missions, and the Alan Berman Research Publication Award from the Naval Research Lab. He has served as Editor for the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, and co-chaired the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing’s Working Group on the Atmosphere, Climate and Weather Research for four years. He has organized numerous international workshops and conferences pertaining to cloud and aerosol research, and has been active on numerous international outreach activities. He has just returned from a month-long campaign in the Philippines, where he worked with NASA, the Navy, and the Manila Observatory to study the effects of biomass burning aerosols from Indonesia on regional air quality and weather using ground, air, and satellite instruments, and to engage with Filipino students from Junior High to graduate school.
Dr. Di Girolamo teaches classes in physical meteorology, radiative transfer, and satellite remote sensing, where he is routinely on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students.
Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award Recipient
Jeff Badu is a serial entrepreneur and a wealth multiplier. He’s a Licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the Founder and CEO of Badu Enterprises, LLC, which is a multinational conglomerate that owns several key companies. His marquee company is Badu Tax Services, LLC, which is a CPA firm that specializes in tax preparation, tax planning, and tax representation for individuals and businesses. Another key company is Badu Investments, LLC, which is primarily a real estate investment company that acquires residential and commercial real estate properties in areas such as the South Side of Chicago in efforts to restore traditionally underserved areas. What sparked his interest in launching these companies is his passion for helping people minimize their tax liability and ultimately multiplying their money by investing it and building multi-generational wealth. His purpose in life is to inspire and support the super hungry to take hold of infinite resources in order to create an abundant lifestyle.
He’s extremely passionate about financial literacy and currently hosts various financial literacy workshops throughout the country. He’s a public speaker and his overall mission in life is very simple: to make a lasting positive impact in as many lives as possible, especially when it comes to their finances. Jeff earned his BA and MS in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award Recipient
An educator, entrepreneur and researcher, Ananya’s vision is to have a world where the oppressed get access to quality education as a tool for transforming the society around us. She uses human centered design for at-scale interventions around pedagogy and socio-emotional skills which could change the way global poverty is tackled through education. Her organization SwaTaleem, tackles child marriage by keeping girls in school and building their socio-emotional skills, in a bottom up approach. Currently, SwaTaleem is working with 900 girls and 30 teachers in some of the remotest parts of India.
Ananya was born and brought up in a small city called Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh in India and has done her bachelor’s in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. She dabbled in Neuroscience in Cambridge, Göttingen and Stockholm before switching to Education. She was a school teacher in a rural school for two years and digitized Science curriculum for grades 5 and 6 in Hindi. Thereafter, she led resilience-based interventions for a research organization in Bihar, India for 10,000 first-generation female learners and 200 teachers. She also led the work on growth mindset and intrinsic motivation at systemic level for the state of Uttar Pradesh and has designed programs for more than 100,000 teachers and 3 million children in low resource settings.
She is a second year PhD student in Educational Psychology studying socio emotional skills at the intersection of poverty and gender. She is also working on a NSF study on Broadening Participation for underrepresented minorities.
Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement Award Recipient
Sadie Marks is a senior at Illinois, studying Agriculture and Consumer Economics with a concentration in Public Policy and Law. Sadie came to the University in 2016 from rural southern Illinois, with a great passion for agriculture, not aware her studies and career goals would take an international focus. Her global passion started when participating on a 10-day agriculture commodities study tour through the College of ACES in the Dominican Republic. This trip opened her eyes to the value of learning about different cultures and inspired her to broaden her focus on a global level.
Eager to travel and experience more international agriculture, Sadie accepted an internship over the summer after her freshman year for Killruddery House and Gardens, as a business development intern. While this experience provided Sadie with the skills needed to thrive in an international setting, she was still heavily intrigued by international development. Starting sophomore year, Sadie focused her studies in an international context and explored opportunities to participate in meaningful and sustainable development activities. Coming back to campus, she was nominated as a student leader to participate in the 2018 Israel Student Leadership Delegation Program Tour. After her second year, she elected to stay in Urbana-Champaign for the summer to serve as an international development research intern for an Illinois program called AgReach, spearheaded by Dr. Paul McNamara. This internship ignited her passion for international agriculture, specifically in developing countries, which is why Sadie spent her Spring 2019 semester in Nairobi, Kenya, studying the language and development, as well as interning for the Institute for Law and Environmental Governance. These experiences are now becoming a full-circle with Sadie volunteering for the College of ACES study abroad office and encouraging others to expand their understanding of the world and utilize the opportunities Illinois has to offer.