2021 Global Leadership Award Winners

2021 Student Award - Ellie Harris

One of the 2021 student Global Leadership Awards was presented to Ellie Harris due to her many contributions to global learning through her participation in International Appalachian (INTAPP). Ellie joined INTAPP as a freshman and was active right away, especially in activities that supported international students. Ellie organized many of the international orientations in conjunction with OIED, which are often the first impression that international students gain about their new home. She rose from general membership of INTAPP to the executive board her junior year. As Business Committee chair, Ellie was in charge of recruitment and organizing long-standing events such as the Global Panel and INTAPPs largest event, the Coffee Buzz 5k, which is a fundraiser for the Landon Hill memorial scholarship which helps students study abroad when they could not otherwise afford to do so.  

As the Business Committee chair during the pandemic, Ellie had to shift the committee's signature events to a virtual format and find ways to get people to participate during a difficult time. Despite challenges, she and her committee organized a very successful virtual Global Panel in Fall 2020 which featured a panel of international students discussing the international student experience at Appalachian and was well attended. The 2021 Coffee Buzz 5K was also held virtually and raised nearly $1000 for the Landon Hill scholarship. Ellie is now the president of INTAPP and is in the difficult position of how to navigate between offering virtual or in-person events, keeping alive the institutional knowledge of past successful events, and continuing the work of bringing a global mindset to Appalachian even during a pandemic. 

For these reasons, the Global Leadership Award Committee was honored to name Ellie Harris as one of the winners of the Student Global Leadership awards for 2021.

2021 Student Award - Christian Rivera

The other 2021 student Global Leadership Award was presented to Christian Rivera, an undergraduate social work student. Through his academic career at Appalachian, Christian has demonstrated a keen interest in supporting immigrant and refugee communities at home and abroad. Christian participated in a social work study abroad trip to Costa Rica in June of 2019 during which time his nominator had the opportunity to get to know him as a dedicated student and emerging social worker. 

In 2020, Christian helped found a student organization at AppState called Students Supporting Immigrants and Refugees, for which he currently serves as the President. Under his leadership, SSIR partnered with a local grassroots organization, the Immigrant Justice Coalition, to host numerous community education and fundraising events. During the 2020-2021 school year, he led efforts to partner with other campus groups and community businesses to organize several fundraisers that brought in money to support IJC’s scholarship fund to assist local immigration-affected youth in pursuing their college dreams. 

Currently, Christian  is involved with a group of social work students who are supporting the Immigrant Justice Coalition's efforts to make valid photo IDs available to immigrant community members as well as to promote the use of these IDs in the High Country community so that more businesses and agencies will accept them. Additionally Christian is serving in a student leadership role to help organize a campus visit day for local Latinx high school students to AppState on Veterans Day 2021 underscoring his commitment to supporting immigration-affected youth in gaining access to higher education, and plans to continue his trajectory toward a social work career working with immigrants and refugees

For these reasons, the Global Leadership Award Committee was honored to name Christian as one of the winners of the Student Global Leadership awards for 2021. 

2021 Faculty/Staff Award - Joseph Gonzalez

The 2021 faculty/staff Global Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Joseph Gonzalez.

Dr. Gonzalez was selected as a recipient of the award due to significant global experience, which can be categorized into three areas, Abroad, On-Campus, and Research.

Dr. Gonzalez has designed and led multiple programs to Cuba, a country he knows quite well. The program he developed blends the academic and the experiential and is designed to strengthen ties between Americans and Cubans and has been featured by University Communications on multiple occasions due to it’s cutting edge design and implementation. 

Dr. Gonzalez is equally active with global learning initiatives on campus, teaching in Global Studies, a program he joined at its inception. He has taught, advised, and redesigned the curriculum and has served as its director. Dr. Gonzalez was also heavily involved in the QEP, served on the QEP Council, and has worked with other faculty, and worked closely with the ACT program to develop some of their international programming to this part of the world. 

Dr. Gonzalez research mirrors his global interests. A historian of Cuban—U.S. relations, he publishes in English and in Spanish, often with the Institute for Cuban History in Havana, where he is an affiliated scholar. He also recently completed a book-length manuscript for inclusion in the University of North Carolina Press’s series “Envisioning Cuba.” 

Both in Cuba and on campus, Dr. Gonzalez has dedicated himself to changing students’ lives by challenging their assumptions and broadening their perspectives, all the while joining with his colleagues to create new opportunities to learn about the wider world.

For these reasons, the Global Leadership Award Committee was honored to award Dr. Joseph Gonzalez as the winner of the Faculty/Staff Global Leadership award for 2021.