In celebration of the annual International Education Week, the Provost’s Office and the Council on Global Engagement (CGE) seek students’ nominations for U-M faculty and staff who have made a difference in their global learning, on campus or abroad. This year, four staff members from the International Institute: Julie Burnett, Janelle Fosler, Heather Johnson, and Zana Kwaiser—along with one affiliated faculty member Robert Platt—were recognized for their contributions to the global education experience.
Julie Burnett has been with the university for eight years, joining the Weiser Center staff in 2009. She is currently an academic services coordinator with the International Institute graduate program where she facilitates fellowships for language studies, research, and internships abroad.
Janelle Fosler is the fellowships coordinator with the Center for South Asian Studies. Although she has only been with the International Institute since January 2015, she has been instrumental in the Summer in South Asia Fellowship (SiSA). Each summer, CSAS sends eight undergraduate students to India for internships and independent research on a topic of their choice. Janelle works closely with all the applicants, helping to identify NGOs and narrowing research topics. "Once SiSA fellows are selected, I help them with logistical planning relating to their trip and prepare them for their time in India. While in India, I support these students by staying in touch via phone, skype and email and helping them with any problems that may arise." She assists with final research projects and organizes a symposium where they can share their experiences and research. "Witnessing the personal and academic transformations this program has on fellows is incredibly rewarding, and I am very grateful that I get to work closely with these students."
Heather Johnson has been with the International Institute since 2002. Currently, she is a fellowship advisor, assisting applicants for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, as well as the in-house fellowships including the Individual Fellowship. She works one-on-one with the applicants, assisting them to put forth their most competitive application. “I help them consider their short- and long-term academic and career goals so they may strategically conceive their projects and prepare their applications.” Heather also ensures they have fruitful and safe experiences abroad.
Zana Kwaiser is the program specialist with the Center for European Studies and academic initiatives for the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies. She has been with the university for six years, joining the International Institute family two years ago. She arranges for students’ placements and advises those interested in summer research and internship opportunities. “I really enjoy seeing the students get excited about the opportunities available and the thought of actually ‘being’ in the region.”
Robert Platt is an affiliated faculty member with the Center for Japanese Studies. He is an assistant professor of art and design with the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, joining the faculty in 2011.