Professional News

International Center Staff Member Receives NAFSA Rising Star Young Leader Award

Photo of Caitlin Johnson
Caitlin Johnson, Immigration Case Coordinator/DSO

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2022) – The University of Kentucky’s International Center is pleased to announce that NAFSA: Association of International Educators has selected Caitlin Johnson, Immigration Case Coordinator/DSO, as the recipient of the prestigious NAFSA Rising Star Young Leader Award for 2022.  

“Through the skill, talent, and leadership she has shown in her young career, Caitlin has demonstrated a commitment to internationalization and an ingenuity of thought that are the hallmarks of NAFSA’s Rising Star Young Leader Award,” said Esther D. Brimmer, executive director and CEO of NAFSA. “In nominating her, Caitlin’s colleagues noted she inspires others, shows curiosity and has had a meaningful impact in shaping dialogue about internationalization, diversity, equity and inclusiveness. Our association is eager to encourage Caitlin’s growth as an international educator and we believe that her contributions have only just begun.”

The Rising Star Young Leader Award is given annually by NAFSA in recognition of a professional who has impacted the field of international education during the first five years of the recipient's area of work. Each of NAFSA’s eleven regional chapters are invited to nominate a professional for the Rising Star; Caitlin was nominated by her peers in NAFSA Region VI. 

“It is a joy to work with Caitlin and watch her grow as a professional in international education,” said Executive Director of International Student and Scholar Services Elizabeth Leibach. “This award recognizes the dedication she has shown, and it will be exciting to see her continued growth as a leader in this field.”

NAFSA is the largest and most comprehensive association of professionals committed to advancing international higher education. The association believes that international education advances learning and scholarship, fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is essential for developing globally competent individuals and builds leadership for the global community.

The complete list of NAFSA awardees is available at