2019 Global Leadership Awards Presented

2019 Global Leadership Award Recepients

Pictured are MS. Megan Aeschleman, Dr. Martin Meznar, Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, Ms. Sirisha Karra, and Dr. Brent James.

2019 Staff Award - Dr. Martin Meznar

The 2019 staff Global Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Martin Meznar, the Associate Dean for International Programs in the Walker College of Business. Dr. Meznar has initiated, developed and executed global opportunities for thousands of students during his time at Appalachian. Thanks to his advocacy and effort, each student in the college is required to fulfill a global issues requirement ensuring that global competence is a central feature in every student’s experience. During his tenure, he has implemented programs to Brazil, Thailand, Malawi, Cuba, and more and is responsible for overseeing faculty led programs to 10 countries on five continents this year. Recognizing that all students may not have the means and ability to participate in an education abroad program, Marty finds other ways to ensure that every student has the opportunity to have a global experience in the college. He has hosted and supported numerous international visitors and visiting scholars from all around the world to support global learning and bring the world to Applachian and the Walker College of Business.

Faculty Award - Dr. Brent James

The 2019 faculty Global Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Brent James. Dr. James is a faculty member in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures where he teaches Portuguese, Spanish and a variety of topics focused on Spain and Latin America. Since 2009, he has participated in six international Alternative Service Experiences (ASE) including: Belize, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. He has also led five study abroad programs to Brazil and Spain and is planning a program for the summer of 2020. These programs, especially in Northern Spain, incorporate a social theme, which is to examine the historic marginalization of so-called “regional” languages and identities in the Basque and Catalan areas of both Spain and France, which have their own border issues going back for more than a millennium. In April 2019, he proposed a faculty-student service trip to El Paso, Texas to learn more about what many call the border crisis and to find out which organizations are doing the most to help and to find ways that Appalachian could contribute.  In May, Dr. James will take a group of students to the U.S./Mexico border to experience first-hand the real issues and the everyday lives of people and their current realities. His ability to create meaningful, accessible, and immensely relevant global learning opportunities for our students and local community is one of the many reasons the committee is proud to recognize Dr. James as this year’s recipient. 

2019 Graduate Student Award - Philip Gadzekpo

The 2019 graduate student award was presented to Philip Gadzekpo,  a doctoral student from Ghana in the Educational Leadership Program in the Reich College of Education. Phil is an excellent student, engaging and helpful to his classmates. In addition to being a top scholar, Phil serves as a Cultural Ambassador who visits elementary, middle, and high schools in Ashe, Wilkes, and Watauga counties to share his heritage and culture with students and education by sharing Ghanian music and dance. Phil has also engage with Here at Appalachian, Phil has engaged with the Walker College of Business, the Reich College of Education, and the Beaver College of Health Sciences to discuss the use of technology, professionalism and education systems in Ghana. For these reasons and more, the committee decided to award this year’s graduate student award to Philip Gadzekpo. 

2019 Undergraduate Student Award -Megan Aeschleman

Megan Aeschelman was a recipient of the 2019 student Global Leadership Award. Megan has served as a Peer Leader and participating in several Alternative Service Experience (ASE) programs for multiple years. Megan’s service trips have focused on education and youth support in Ecuador, Guatemala, and Georgia.  Megan is also a member of the ASE executive board and has helped her peers plan and lead all of the 25 plus ASE programs this year. Even while serving on the executive board, Megan found the time to propose and plan her own service program to St. John in the U.S Virgin Islands to work with the National Park service. For her these reasons and her commitment to global learning, the committee is pleased to present her with the 2019 student Global Leadership Award. 

 2019 Undergraduate Student Award - Walker Ballard

Walker Ballard was a recipient of the 2018 student Global Leadership Award. Walker is a Music Education student who has also dedicated himself to adding a second major in German. Walker has extended his time at Appalachian to spend a semester studying abroad at a German University to develop credentials to add on German teaching licensure to music education. Walker is the President of The German Club and has organized several successful events designed to further global learning at Appalachian such as the German language immersion day. Walker is a past presenter at the Global Symposium where he highlighted different ways that education majors could engage in global activities while at Appalachian. His nominator described him as someone who“ leads by example—by doing the “impossible” and becoming a truly internationalized teaching candidate who is ready to share this with his future students.” For these reasons and more the committee is pleased to award the 2019 award to Walker Ballard. 

2019 Local to Global Award - Sirisha Karra

2019 Local to Global Student award was presented to Sirisha Karra. This award is intended to recognize a student who has engaged with our local community in an innovative way and is prepared to expand their work on a global level at an international location. Sirisha is the co-founder of a local branch of the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD), a non profit organization that works with rural villages of india to support sustainability, rehabilitation, women’s empowerment and self-help. Sirisha founded the branch of CORD while in high school and has continued to work with the branch during her time as a student at Appalachian. Under her leadership, CORD has grown and recently raised $1000 at a fundraiser to support girl's education in India. The Local to Global Ward will undoubtedly enable Sirisha to expand on the already amazing work she is doing when she travels to India to implement CORD activities in the coming year.