Professional News

UK International Center Announces 2021 Global Impact Award Winners

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2021) — The International Center at the University of Kentucky has announced the 2021 UK Global Impact Award (GIA) winners.

Recipients include faculty, staff and alumni who have significantly contributed to the university’s global engagement through education, research and service, as well as fostered a culturally diverse, welcoming environment that is conducive to comprehensive campus internationalization.

“After being presented with significant challenges to traveling and working across borders, this past year has reinforced just how interconnected our world really is, and how critically important international collaboration is in research and higher education,” Sue Roberts, associate provost for internationalization, said.

This year, five awardees are being recognized with Global Impact Awards in five different categories:

UK Alumni Global Impact Award

Mosoka Fallah, Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Class of 2011

Fallah, an alumnus of the College of Medicine, was chosen for his efforts in fighting the Ebola epidemic. For his work, in 2014, he was named “Man of the Year” by Time Magazine.

Additionally, Fallah has provided critical medical care to 58,000+ patients in Monrovia and rural areas of Liberia. He played an instrumental role in establishing the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL). Fallah is also the co-principal investigator of the largest cohort study investigating survivors of the Ebola virus, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

“Fallah has utilized his training at UK to have a truly global impact, especially in the area of providing quality health care to people in need,” Professor Subbarao Bondada in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics said.

More recently, Fallah is a respected advocate for the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the developing world.

“It was at the University of Kentucky that my academic development, scientific astuteness and commitment to hard work for a better society was developed. It was there that I founded Refuge Place International; most of my early funding for this NGO came from friends, instructors and contacts at the university,” he said. “My great alma mater continues to see that potential they saw in the young man from Africa and chose to honor me for representing the values they instilled in me over those years. I am forever grateful, humbled and honored.”

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

Sherali Zeadally, associate professor, School of Information Sciences, College of Communication and Information

This award recognizes Zeadally for his impactful research in the areas of cybersecurity and privacy. He has published more than 300 papers in international journals, serves as editor-in-chief of two academic journals and has chaired more than 35 conferences, symposiums and workshops around the world.

“Sherali and his international research collaborators have developed innovative cybersecurity and privacy solutions that have a huge impact on improving the computer security of various systems,” Professor Badis Hammi, who collaborated with Zeadally while at Paris TECH University in France, said. “His research results have been internationally recognized and adopted by his peers and cybersecurity industries around the world.”

Zeadally said he couldn’t have achieved such success without the help of his devoted colleagues. “All the credit should really go to all my international research collaborators — junior and senior faculty colleagues, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students. I’ve been very fortunate to work with so many talented international researchers from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand over the last two decades,” he explained. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues at the University of Kentucky for their support over the years.”

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement in Education Abroad

Larry Grabau, professor, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

This award recognizes Grabau for his dedication to expanding education abroad opportunities for students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE). Over the years, he has developed and implemented transformative, faculty-led multidisciplinary experiences for students.

“I cannot imagine a more worthy recipient of this award. Larry Grabau was one of the first faculty to fully integrate education abroad experiences into the UK curriculum,” Rebecca McCulley, professor and chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, said. “He helped institute the practice in our college and has played an instrumental role in making education abroad a possibility for everyone at UK.”

Additionally, during Grabau’s time as associate dean for instruction, he successfully advocated for the creation of the “Dean’s International Incentive Fund,” which provides support for CAFE faculty to significantly increase the college’s portfolio of faculty-led education abroad opportunities.

“I have met many faculty and staff who perceive the immense value of well-crafted and finely tuned international experiences for our students, and their collective work, energy and enthusiasm has helped many students develop enriched understandings of a global community,” Grabau said. “I’m glad the GIA selection committee felt that I have contributed in a modest, yet meaningful, way to that collective impact.”

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

Sharon Brennan, associate professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education

This award recognizes Brennan for her advocacy for inclusion of global competencies and learning outcomes. She has played key leadership roles in the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) program, which has enabled more than 375 UK education majors to complete student teaching requirements abroad.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Brennan has worked in innovative ways to connect with native Chinese language instructors currently teaching in Kentucky public schools. “She has kept a global outlook at the forefront of all decisions made in the department,” Jared Stallones, professor and chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said. “And her impact is felt in countless schools throughout our Commonwealth, nation and world — where our alumni are practicing what they’ve learned from her in their classrooms.”

“Receiving news about the award has prompted me to think about how much the effort to build a global mindset on campus has grown since I became the director of our overseas initiative in 1984,” Brennan added. “There are many faculty members across campus who are doing wonderful and important work to broaden the global perspectives of students, and it's been a joy to have been a small cog in that big wheel.”

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Staff Achievement in Campus Internationalization

Patricia Bond, senior assistant dean, Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment, The Graduate School

This award recognizes Bond’s dedication to supporting international graduate students at UK. In 2009, she joined a contingent of U.S. university representatives to develop a project, which provides higher education to Iraqi citizens.

Additionally, Bond has served in leadership roles in the International Hospitality Program in Lexington, and she takes a very hands-on approach in helping UK’s international graduate students settle into their lives in the Commonwealth.

“She is the ultimate professional who puts the needs of our students as her number one priority,” Brian Jackson, interim dean of The Graduate School and professor in the Department of Physiology, said. “Her commitment to improving the lives of people everywhere through educational opportunity has been multifaceted.”

Bond said she shares this recognition with the many colleagues who work hand in hand to welcome and support international students and scholars. “The University of Kentucky enjoys an impressive network of administrators, students, faculty and staff who value internationalization and the expansion of diversity within our community,” she said. “Together, through our educational exchanges, we can make a difference and show the best face of the U.S. to our new friends from around the world. I am honored to work among them.”

About the UK Global Impact Awards

The GIA’s were established 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 2020-21 recipients will be recognized at an event planned for this fall.

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.