Campus News

UK International Center announces 2023 Global Impact Award winners

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 8. 2023) — The International Center at the University of Kentucky has announced the 2023 UK Global Impact Award winners. Recipients comprise faculty, staff, alumni and community members who have significantly contributed to the university’s global engagement through education, research and service, as well those who have fostered a culturally diverse, welcoming environment.

These individuals are making a wonderful and positive difference with their dedication to helping create a more global University of Kentucky,” said Sue Roberts, associate provost for internationalization. “We are excited to honor their contributions to global engagement at the University of Kentucky.”

This year, six awardees are being recognized with Global Impact Awards in six different categories.

Community Partner Global Impact Award

The University of Kentucky is pleased to confer the 2023 Community Partner Global Impact Award to the Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM), Lexington.  A nonprofit organization, KRM provides resettlement services to refugees through faith-and agency-based co-sponsorship to promote self-sufficiency and successful integration into our community. KRM is committed to offering access to community resources and opportunities and to promoting awareness of diversity for the benefit of the whole community. Currently, KRM welcomes refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Syria. In 2022, Kentucky ranked as the top state for refugee resettlement per capita. 

KRM Lexington has been a key partner for the University of Kentucky in developing and implementing an innovative program to welcome refugee students from Afghanistan, whose studies at the American University in Kabul were interrupted when the Taliban took control of the nation in August 2021. So far, thanks to funding from Kentucky's state legislature and the Qatar Scholarships for Afghans Project, the University of Kentucky has welcomed and enrolled 20 refugee students from Afghanistan as international transfer students in a range of academic programs. This program could only succeed through a close partnership between UK and KRM Lexington to support the newly arriving refugees. UK’s International Center staff worked with KRM professionals to ensure deadlines to complete required services were met and best practices implemented for welcoming refugee students to UK.

In nominating KRM Lexington for the 2023 GIA, Caitlin Johnson, Sponsored Student and Scholar coordinator in the UK Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), noted that “KRM has guided our office through explanations of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, clearly articulating opportunities where UK can intersect with and supplement their organization’s federally required offerings. KRM continues to provide this level of care in other aspects, such as health care access and job development, remaining a listening partner to students through the process. The organization routinely acknowledges the students’ concerns and how certain U.S. processes may impact their emotional well-being, while keeping in constant communication with UK so that they can work as a team to holistically support their time as students at UK.

UK Alumni Global Impact Award

The 2023 Alumni Global Impact Award recognizes the outstanding career and achievements of Ambassador Christine Elder (B.A., Germanic Language and Literature, 1989). Elder was raised in Glasgow, Kentucky, and is an alumna of the Honors program at UK. She also received a master's degree in international relations from The George Washington University. 

Elder has spent 30 years in public service. From 2016 to 2020, Elder served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia, where she was conferred the star of Africa, the highest honor bestowed upon a foreign citizen by the Republic of Liberia. She has also held positions as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique, and as cultural attaché in Germany and in Hungary. Her other Washington assignments include deputy coordinator for International Information Programs, serving as the senior most foreign service officer in the Office of the Inspector General, director for Southern African Affairs, and senior watch officer in the State Department’s Operations Center.

Elder currently serves as consul general at the U.S. Consulate General in Sydney, Australia. Prior to her assignment in Australia, she was responsible for representing the United States in New South Wales and Queensland. In recommending Elder for the Alumni Global Impact Award, Christian Brady, dean of the Lewis Honors College, for which Elder serves as an advisory board member, noted her ability to discern “how and when to use bureaucratic levers to balance risks and initiative, convert proposals into policy, promises into financial commitments, and secure positions for growing embassies. In Africa’s and Europe’s young democracies, she aided countries in transition — both in healing ethnic and political divisions and dealing with post-independence economic transitions.” 

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievements in International Research and Scholarship

Youling Xiong (Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment), has been selected as the recipient of the 2023 Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievements in International Research and Scholarship. After earning a bachelor's degree in food science and engineering from Jiangnan University, in China, Professor Xiong came to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies, earning his master’s degree from Oregon State University and a Ph.D. from Washington State University. A research professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Xiong directs an internationally recognized research program on protein functionality in fresh and processed foods, while actively engaging in teaching and training both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Xiong’s acclaimed research program on muscle protein oxidation and protein functionality at UK is a part of the reason why the University of Kentucky is often the go‐to place for many international students and scholars. In his program, Xiong has mentored six post‐doctoral researchers and more than 55 international graduate students (about 30 Ph.D. and 25 M.S.) from Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Thailand, India, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Ghana and Nigeria. Notably, many of his international trainees have subsequently advanced to prominent leadership positions in academia, government and industry in their respective countries.

In nominating Xiong for the 2023 GIA, Surendranath Suman, assistant dean for research in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and professor of animal and food sciences, noted that his colleague’s dedication to nurturing international collaborations and facilitating seamless knowledge transfer in the global food science community. “His illustrious achievements and dedicated services exemplify the ideal of the University of Kentucky as a global leading research university that continues to attract international students and scholars,” said Professor Suman. 

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievements in Education Abroad

The 2023 Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievements in Education Abroad recognizes the outstanding efforts of Rosie Lanphere (Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, College of Education). Lanphere achieved a bachelor's degree in biology from Delaware State University and a master’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University before going on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. Since arriving at UK in 2013, she has worked to facilitate highly impactful education abroad experiences in multiple countries for UK students. In addition to serving as a faculty director for education abroad experiences in England, Spain and New Zealand, Lanphere has served as a co-director of three study abroad trips, encouraging and supporting at least two other faculty colleagues in developing their own education abroad experiences. 

A student who participated in one of Lanphere’s many education abroad programs noted her prioritization of student learning and development throughout the experience. “I had the opportunity to go abroad in the summer of 2022 to Valencia, Spain, with Dr. Lanphere, and she went above and beyond to make the trip not only educational, but enjoyable for all of the students on the trip. Even when having to teach a regular semester course in the span of only four weeks, Dr. Lanphere gave in-depth, detailed lectures that I still reference in my current classes this semester. She was there for all of her students with any questions regarding class material and arranged for our group to see different tests in labs at top-line sports facilities while on the trip,” said Katie Gardipee, student participant on the Exercise Physiology and Sport Management program in Spain in summer 2022. 

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievements in Internationalizing the Curriculum

Professor David Fahringer (Department of Physician Assistant Studies, College of Health Sciences) is recognized with the 2023 Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievements in Internationalizing the Curriculum, for his exceptional work in incorporating global and comparative perspectives in his teaching and mentoring of physician assistant (PA) students both here at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, and around the world. 

Fahringer earned two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree in public health before beginning a lifelong commitment to educating the next generation of health professionals and making a difference in communities all over the world. He arrived at UK in 1994 and in 1995 worked with faculty and leadership at the University of Wolverhampton to develop a monthlong study abroad program in which UK’s physician assistant students trained in Great Britain and British students spent time being trained at UK. The program, which existed from 1995-2010, impacted approximately 500 student participants. In 2010, Fahringer took a two-year work leave of absence to start the first PA program in the Middle East with George Washington University-Medical Faculty Associates at Prince Sultan Military College of Health Science. He returned to UK in 2012, where he always brought his varied cultural and professional experiences into the classroom and his courses. For years he co-instructed an undergraduate study abroad program in London, England. His passion for teaching students directly about health and health care in a global community has always inspired his work. In addition to this curriculum work, Fahringer is one of the founding members of the International Academy of Physician Associate Educators (IAPAE). As the organization's president, he created a platform for the global exchange of ideas related to the physician assistant profession for students and educators. Fahringer created a customized curriculum for international health electives that helped pre-PA, pre-med, engineering, and students from other undergraduate majors travel to the United Kingdom and experience firsthand how elders are cared for by the National Health Service.

In nominating him for this 2023 GIA award, Virginia Valentin, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, noted his “significant global impact in facilitating the understanding of the global culture of health through over 30 years of mentoring, developing and implementing international curriculum and educational activities in Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Africa and Poland. His international work has helped the University of Kentucky PA program students and undergraduate students understand global health needs and how they can alleviate worldwide health problems. He has mentored multiple generations of students and faculty both here and abroad and is an international leader in Physician Assistant Studies,” said Professor Valentin.

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Staff Achievements in Campus Internationalization

Megan Koshurba, director of international undergraduate students (China and South Asia) for the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the winner of the 2023 Global Impact Award for Distinguished Staff Achievements in Campus Internationalization. Koshurba has served as the director of international graduate students for UK’s College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), since 2017. In this role, she supports all international undergraduate students through recruitment, application, admission and matriculation, with personalized attention and advising. She also uses her extensive travel experience to encourage and support outbound education abroad by domestic A&S undergraduate students. Her dedication to the well-being of international students has led her to develop and coordinate monthly cultural activities, as well as directing the A&S International Ambassador Program, through which the international ambassadors learn about all A&S majors while building professional development skills such as networking, personal marketing and resume/interview skills. Koshurba also serves as the lead for hosting visits to the College of Arts and Sciences by delegations from key international partner institutions and serves as the primary partnership manager for several of the college’s most significant international partnerships, including Jilin University, Beijing Institute of Technology-Zhuhai, Shanghai University, Shanghai Institute of Technology and Beijing Foreign Studies University. She also maintains relationships with Kanda Institute (Japan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka); Sampoerna University (Indonesia); and Broward-Vietnam.  

In nominating his colleague for this award, Jesse Hedge, assistant dean for undergraduate and international affairs, cited Korshurba’s history of excellence in supporting international students and programs in the college. “Megan has clearly demonstrated outstanding commitment, support and service to international students, staff, visitors and UK’s domestic students engaging in education abroad activities,” said Assistant Dean Hedges. 

About the UK Global Impact Awards

The Global Impact Awards were established in 2020 to recognize, highlight and celebrate the wide range of global engagement activities undertaken by UK faculty, staff and alumni.

Nominees for the various award categories are reviewed by the International Advisory Committee and receive additional review from campus stakeholders, such as the Staff Senate.

The 2023 recipients will be recognized at an event planned for Oct. 4, 2023.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.