Our physical office has reopened Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 12:00pm and 1:00pm - 5:00pm. Our staff will be rotating in-person shifts and can be contacted through email and Zoom. Most advising appointments will continue via Zoom.  Visit the Campus Return website for updates. 

Students Honored at International Affairs Recognition Ceremony

As mentioned in the previous article, the International Affairs Recognition Ceremony was a bit different this year.

Normally, International Affairs would host a special Recognition Ceremony just before graduation, as a way to celebrate the accomplishments of international students, scholars, faculty and staff before commencement. But with the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the emergencies surrounding international travel, and the sudden campus closure, the staff in International Affairs had to identify alternative options for recognizing our outstanding students and the incredible campus partners who help them succeed. 

For 2019 - 2020, International Affairs recognizes 24 students and 9 faculty & staff. Faculty and staff have a tremendous opportunity to engage, support, and mentor international students. Their encouragement and thoughtful consideration enriches the university experience for UCR international students. Click here to view the list of faculty and staff recognized in 2019-2020.

Of the 24 students, two students were selected as Outstanding International Students. 


Outstanding International Graduate Student for 2020

Student Honoree Comments Shared by Nominators
Aalekhya Reddam Students 2020 IA Awards

Aalekhya Reddam,
from Singapore

"Since joining UCR in Sept. 2017, Aalekhya has published two first-authored papers and three co-authored papers as well as presented her work at five scientific meetings (two platforms + three posters). Aalekhya’s paper published within Environment International received extensive media coverage in February/March 2020, as this study demonstrated that longer commutes are associated with increased human exposure to tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCIPP) – a widely used flame retardant that is a probable carcinogen. Aalekhya received the "Best First Year Student Presentation" at the Environmental Toxicology (ETOX) Graduate Program Symposium in June 2018. Aalekhya received a competitive travel award to defray costs for attending the 58th Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology in Baltimore, MD in March 2019. Aalekhya is currently providing professional service to the Society of Toxicology, as she is serving as the Junior Graduate Student Officer for the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section within the society. Aalekhya has also provided extensive service to UCR, as she has helped organize the ETOX program's symposium in 2018, served as Treasurer for the ETOX mini-GSA and Science to Policy mini-GSA from 2018-2019, and is currently serving as Vice President of the ETOX mini-GSA and International Student Officer of UCR's GSA."

"In her role for GSA, Aalekhya has conducted focus groups to hear from a wide-variety of international students about the challenges they face and the solutions that GSA, International Affairs or UCR can provide. She has been especially effective in reaching out to international students from underrepresented countries, where the student population at UCR is quite small and the experience in the U.S. can be isolating. In addition to being an incredible scholar, her empathy, humor and thoughtful leadership are an asset to UCR."

Outstanding International Undergraduate Student for 2020

Student Honoree Comments Shared by Nominators
Stephanie Chuquipul Students 2020 IA Awards

Stephanie Chuquipul,
from Peru

"Stephanie is an outstanding student leader. She started getting involved in her very first days on campus. In addition to working in International Affairs, Stephanie has been a student leader with Active Minds and The WELL. Mental health is often a taboo subject in international communities due to a variety of factors (cultural misunderstandings, translation barriers, fear of how a diagnosis might impact educational goals or immigration status, etc.). Stephanie's volunteer work with Active Minds has led her to be an outspoken advocate by encouraging international students to seek out mental health support and resources. I'm so proud of all she has accomplished so far and am excited to see her future success."

"I invited Stephanie to participate as a panelist in a CHASS forum aiming at international and out of state students. She is eloquent and inspirational. Stephanie is an Economics major. She is really involved on campus: she is a volunteer for Active Minds and a mentor for international students. In addition, she was part of the international student committee in ASUCR as the health and environmental advisor."


2019 - 2020 Students Honored at International Affairs Recognition Ceremony

The following students were nominated by a wide-variety of individuals from the UCR community and selected for their incredible accomplishments and on-going contributions to UCR, both inside the classroom and as active student leaders:

Student Honorees Comments Shared by Nominators
Alvaro Gonzalezalba students 2020 ia awards

Álvaro Gonzalez Alba

"Since his arrival to UCR in the Fall of 2019, Álvaro has become an indispensable member of our intellectual community. He joined the Spanish of California Lab, and took charge of an undergraduate research project with 5 research assistants. Beyond that, he works very closely with one of our Honors Students, guiding him in how to conduct basic research.
He also joined the Bilingualism Matters UCR student club, taking the initiative in many of the activities of the club. As per his outreach, he works actively to recruit potential graduate students in his former MA and BA programs, in two different universities. It has yielded one application already, and we expect three more in the upcoming couple of years.
His research accomplishments are remarkable, considering that he has been on campus for just a few months. Before the pandemic, he had been accepted to present his research at 4 different conferences in the Spring and Summer. All of these have been cancelled, but he has managed to find online versions or, when there are not, he has applied and had been accepted to other conferences. His resilience is remarkable. He has applied to national and international grants and fellowships as well, and he is awaiting for the results.
As a TA, his evaluations are always perfect. Students that took a class with him are ready at the first minute of their enrollment period, to find a seat on his class.
All in all, Álvaro is a well rounded student, an excellent TA, a very promising scholar and an extraordinary asset to this campus and to this university."

Andrea Sobredo students 2020 ia awards

Andrea Sobredo

"Andrea and Anissa served as Co-Presidents of International Student Union in 2019-2020. As domestic students, they have been actively involved in the international student community for the past three years. They both served as International Peer Advisors in 2017-18, were ISU board members in 2017-18 and then Co-Presidents of ISU (2019-20). Both have been very interested in Japanese language and culture and even studied abroad in Japan for the year of 2018-2019 (on different programs in different cities)."

"I have been impressed with Andrea and Anissa. They display a 'quiet leadership' as ambassadors of UCR's international community through the thoughtful way they support international students. I was also impressed with the fact that they were both able to spend a year in Japan on Education Abroad programs! It can be challenging for students to figure out their academic plan to learn abroad, but they both were committed to making it happen."

Anissa Mitchell Students 2020 IA Awards

Anissa Mitchell

"Andrea and Anissa served as Co-Presidents of International Student Union in 2019-2020. As domestic students, they have been actively involved in the international student community for the past three years. They both served as International Peer Advisors in 2017-18, were ISU board members in 2017-18 and then Co-Presidents of ISU (2019-20). Both have been very interested in Japanese language and culture and even studied abroad in Japan for the year of 2018-2019 (on different programs in different cities)."

"I have been impressed with Andrea and Anissa. They display a 'quiet leadership' as ambassadors of UCR's international community through the thoughtful way they support international students. I was also impressed with the fact that they were both able to spend a year in Japan on Education Abroad programs! It can be challenging for students to figure out their academic plan to learn abroad, but they both were committed to making it happen."

Deepshikha Batheja students 2020 ia awards

Deepshikha Batheja

"Deepshikha, as an international student in a foreign country, is very familiar with the hardships and struggles that students might face. Her goal has been to boost the confidence of newly enrolled and international students so that they did not feel like they needed to change themselves to be accepted in a new environment. As the president of the Economics Department Graduate Students Association, she initiated a program to create a learning environment, friendly and inclusive, among graduate students from various diverse groups. She identified that graduate students would help junior graduate students from their own home country, but there were many first year graduate students who were not receiving any help. She matched mentors/senior students with mentees/junior students based solely on their interest area of research. She also secured funding for this program from the department. As part of this mentorship program, she organized lunch seminars where students could share their experiences and struggles in the program and as international students. This helped in creating a community feeling within a diverse graduate program. She hosted many seminars where we invited students and professors not only from UCR, but also from other schools for a talk, in order to facilitate interaction and networking with other departments and schools."
Edoardo Melchiori Students 2020 IA Awards

Edoardo Melchiori

"Edoardo has been actively involved throughout his year at UCR. He is a reciprocity (exchange) student from Italy studying business. I have been impressed with his professionalism and proud of the work he has contributed to International Affairs. During his time at UCR, he has volunteered for student organizations, been a featured speaker at the TEDx event in February, and served as a peer advisor in the Education Abroad office. In his role as a GOALie, Edoardo has conducted numerous class visits, presentations, and has advised countless students about the process of applying to learn abroad. He tries to encourage all UCR students to study abroad and often discusses the career benefits of international education. His time at UCR and his work with Education Abroad is also helping to inform his senior thesis. Edoardo has been a great advocate for Education Abroad and of UCR."
Glaydah Namukasa Students 2020 IA Awards

Glaydah Namuka

"Namukasa came to UCR from a career in Uganda as an obstetrical nurse, with a strong desire to further her career as a writer and to complete a novel-length project. While she arrived with less experience in literary discourse than some of her peers, she has caught up fast and is more than fulfilling the promise we saw in her. She is serious, diligent, thoughtful, and very talented. Of equal importance, she has become a standard-bearer for her entire cohort, setting the pace in writing courses and seminars for critical engagement and creativity."
Gneisoraya Zarook students 2020 ia awards

Gnei Soraya Zarook

"Soraya Zarook has been a transformative member of our graduate student community since she first started her PhD studies at UCR. She held a leadership role within our graduate student organization and was a member of our admissions committee: she was instrumental in the revisioning of our recruitment. Soraya has also been an active member of our TA union and has worked hard to effect positive change in undergraduate teaching. In the fall, Soraya was a TA for a large course dominated by first quarter students. She provided valuable insight and expertise regarding their needs: the class was much more effective for my having access to her experience and wisdom. She furthermore initiated conversation with faculty about the needs of international students: many of the challenges   they face were poorly understood by our faculty. Today, we are more effective at recruiting and supporting international students thanks to her commitment to our campus."
hyung-bumpark students 2020 ia award

Hyung-Bum Park

"As a PhD candidate in Psychology, Hyung-Bum Park has demonstrated excellent research programs, community engagement and leadership, and involvement in campus activities for international students. In addition to his academic work, below are some examples of his contributions that qualify him as a candidate for this award:

  • Served as vice president of Korean Graduate/Faculty Association at UCR
  • Poster presentation in the Graduate Student Poster Fair and Reception during International Student Orientation (September 17, 2019)
  • Held a booth in the Resource Fair during International Student Orientation (September 18, 2019)
  • Organized and led research training for fellow graduate students in Psychology"
JemelJr Barra Garcia Students 2020 IA Awards

Jemuel Jr Barra Garcia

"The Dance faculty have been extremely impressed by the academic progress Jemuel has made in his three years in the PhD program in Critical Dance Studies. His work is nuanced, thoughtful, and original and promises to make important contributions to Dance Studies. Jemuel has also been extraordinarily active in the international community at UCR and beyond. In addition to being a Gluck Fellow for the Arts, in which capacity he shared his Filipino culture with elementary and middle school children in the Riverside community, he has been a lead volunteer and core leader for the International Students orientation, which welcomes international students at UCR; served as graduate student representative for the Student Services Fee Advisory Committee; and co-organized a Filipino American Peñafrancia fiesta celebration, which is held annually in downtown Los Angeles. In addition, he was one of three UCR students to represent the campus at the “Speech Matters: The Future of Free Expression on Campus" conference at the UC Washington Center, or UCDC."
Junyi Chen

Junyi Chen

"Ms. Junyi Chen is a 2nd-year graduate student in Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program. She obtained her B.S. from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and joined my group in Fall 2018. Junyi's academic performance is outstanding, with a GPA of 4.0. After finishing the required courses by the program, she successfully passed the preliminary exam before Fall 2019. Junyi has been working on the project of using synthetic receptors to analyze DNA and RNA folding. She has shown great talent in scientific research, by being independent, creative, and very diligent. She is very sincere in pursuing scientific problems and a very fast learner in mastering lab techniques and data analysis skills. Although only working in the lab for a little more than 1.5 years, Junyi has completed a project, the manuscript of which has been submitted to Nature Chemistry and in revision. In summary, Ms. Junyi Chen is an outstanding international student who has served as a wonderful role model for female undergraduates who are interested in STEM career, and has great potential to become an excellent researcher in the field of analytical chemistry and environmental toxicology. "
Leonardo Targia Students 2020 IA Awards

Leonardo Targia

"Leo has been an excellent student, with 3.9 GPA. As a student athlete, Leo has been actively involved on campus. He was selected to represent UCR as a member of the search committee for the new Commissioner of the Big West Conference. He also served as a CASE Advancement intern with University Advancement."

"Leo has been a great representative of UCR's international community. He works hard in the classroom and on the soccer field. He is quick to say hello and to welcome other students. His positive attitude is infectious."

Nabil Abdallah

Nabil Abdallah

"Nabil has been the Men’s Tennis team captain from 2018-2020. He's a great leader on and off the court. He is a SAAC representative and is also on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics (CACIA). He is third on all time career win list for UCR men’s tennis without having the opportunity to get to the top spot due to Covid-19. He was recently admitted to SMU Graduate Finance school - which is ranked as a top 10 school globally."
Sangkeun Yoo Students 2020 IA Awards

Sang-Keun Yoo

"Sang-Keun is a graduate student of excellent standing in the English Department. In 2019-2020, he won three awards from Grad Division:
  • a coveted Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYP)
  • an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
  • Graduate Student Travel Award, MLA, 2020

Sang-Keun gave a two conference presentations this year and publications this year include “Necropolitical Metamorphoses into Parasites: Bong Joon-ho’s The Host and Parasite.” Science Fiction Film and Television, 2020 (Resubmitted manuscript under review).

Sang-Keun's Leadership and Community Service to UCR have also been exceptional. He served as the President of the Korean Graduate Student/Faculty Association at UCR (KGFA) during 2018-2019 and in 2019 - 2020, he served as the website designer & manager. He created a new website for KGFA and also wrote the handbook “Life in Riverside Handbook for Korean Faculty and Grads (https://www.ucrkgfa.com/blank-4). The 55 - page handbook covers information from A to Z about life in Riverside, such as: how to get from the airport to Riverside, the nearest Korean grocery stores and restaurants, how to set up gas and electricity, apartment recommendation, how to apply for SSN, how to purchase a car in the US, and many others. The website also has a board function where people can upload job information and ask questions. Most recently, the site has helped Korean students and faculty by producing and managing an online place for Korean international researchers and faculty to convene and get necessary information during the COVID-19 pandemic."

seolah kim students 2020 ia awards

Seolah Kim

"Over the past year, Seolah organized the ECON-GSA (Graduate Students Association) brown-bag seminars. By encouraging fellow students to present their work, she could interact with them in different fields and exchange interesting ideas. Also, she invited an off-campus speaker from the University of Southern California to activate the interaction between the two campuses. As a teaching assistant, she interacts very well with undergraduate students. Whenever undergraduate students wanted advice about their careers, she was happy to answer their questions even after the quarter was over. In 2018 she was a mentor at the Economics Honors Society.  She was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award."
valeria montalvo students 2020 ia awards

Valeria Montalvo

"Valeria has been an outstanding student who has been an active volunteer with the international community for around 3 years now. She began by volunteering as an international peer advisor, and has volunteered for three consecutive international student orientations. She has exceeded her role as a volunteer in many ways, as she makes personal connections with the new international students and does her best to assist them in any way. She has also been an instrumental part of the Language Circles program as she has been assisting to set-up the tables and promote the event, and she served as the English language moderator. She also served as one of the board members for the International Student Union. Val was also a great ambassador for UCR when she studied abroad in Korea."
Wanting Wendy Shi Students 2020 IA Awards

Wanting (Wendy) Shi

"Wendy is a very motivated student who not only helps tremendously with connecting the undergraduate admissions office with new and prospective international students, but also is an infectious leader who is able to command the respect of her peers. Wendy has been able to easily gather and group her peers to volunteer actively with the department. She is always coming up with new and innovative ideas to help improve the status quo. Her work ethic is extremely commendable, especially as a young budding student starting out. Last but not least, Wendy has taken the social media platform for Undergraduate Admissions to new highs, and this is with her creative and bubbly personality that allowed her to connect with others, and is what led her to succeed in her current role."
yorgos Tsitsikas students 2020 ia awards

Yorgos Tsitsikas

"Yorgos has been an exceptional international PhD student, who has dedicated a great deal of time, effort and enthusiasm, towards supporting the international community at UCR. Since he started at UCR about 3 years ago, he has been actively engaged in the community. He has participated in multiple focus groups and committees for International Affairs, and he is member of the International Student Advisory Committee. He has also gone above and beyond as an ISO leader by actively volunteering and helping new students feel welcome."

Ali Davanian

"Ali is a dedicated international PhD student, who spares time from his research to engage in multiple projects and events for the international community. He has actively engaged in multiple focus groups/committees with International Affairs and other campus departments, has been an ISO leader for the past two years, has participated and supported the International Student Union for the past 2 years, and has generally actively supported the international community at UCR."
Jessica Noll "Jessica is the vice president of GSA. Although she is not an international student, she has been a huge support for all international students at UCR.  She has been advocate for international students in her department and in her role in GSA, especially in helping GSA provide emergency financial support for international students impacted by the pandemic (as international students are not eligible for funding from the CARES Act). She has also participated in various events around campus including poster sessions and workshops."
Jorge JJ Duarte "JJ has been an active volunteer and advocate within the international community over the past 3 years. As a first generation American, his enthusiasm for reaching out to international students is palpable. He has volunteered with the UCR Admissions department to become an international student ambassador and is one of the founders of ISU. He has been a board member in the organization for the past 3 years."
Michelle Nguyen "Michelle has been actively involved in the international community for the past 3 years. Starting out as an IPA, she went on to also become involved with the International Student Union. She served as an international student orientation leader for about 3 years, and has participated in multiple peer mentor programs for international students. She has been an excellent source of support for many international students. Chelle was also actively involved with Education Abroad and served as a peer advisor in the GOALie program."
Ryan Beal

"Ryan is very involved in the international community and always willing to help. Ryan also wore many different hats when she served as the IPA program coordinator. She is creative and efficient. Ryan goes above and beyond to support international students in many ways. Whether it is through ISO or an IPA event, Ryan has a nice way of communicating with international students and has thoughtfully shared her experience as a American student from California."



The International Student Recognition Ceremony began in 2018. To see past honorees and learn more about the International Students and Scholars office, please see the International Affairs Report (the awards ceremony is featured on pages 23-24).

Let us help you with your search