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Members of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI were among the faculty and students honored at the Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation, part of IUPUI’s annual recognition for achievements, held April 21 in the Hine Hall Auditorium. Chancellor Nasser Paydar hosts the event.

Each year those who best represent IUPUI in its core values (teaching and learning; research, scholarship and creative activity; civic engagement; and diversity, collaboration and best practices) are recognized for their efforts.

Liberal Arts honorees include:

Jennifer Guiliano (assistant professor of history) received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Multicultural Teaching.

Modupe Labode (associate professor of history and museum studies, public scholar of African American history and museums, public scholar of Africana Studies, adjunct professor of Africana Studies, director of undergraduate studies in history) received the Chancellor's Diversity Scholar Award.

Scott Pegg (professor and chair of Political Science) received the Chancellor's Faculty Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement.

Many liberal arts faculty members were recognized with Trustee Teaching Awards. These included Holly Cusack McVeigh (assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies), Elizabeth Goering (associate professor of communication studies), Karen Kovacik (professor of English), John McCormick (professor of political science), Honner Orlando (lecturer in English, EAP coordinator), Mike Polites (senior lecture in communication studies), Jennifer Thorington Springer (associate professor of English, Africana studies), Jing Wang (associate professor of Chinese language and culture), and Scott Weeden (senior lecturer in English).

Krista Hoffman-Longtin was recognized for external achievement as a 2016 member of the Indiana Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list.

Ayobami Egunyomi (Senior, French/global and international studies; minor, political science) was also named the Liberal Arts Chancellor’s Scholar.

“What an honor to be present at the Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation,” said Thomas J. Davis, IU School Liberal Arts dean. "To see our outstanding faculty and students honored reminded me how fortunate I am to work with such dedicated people and serve such wonderful students."

Last semester, IUPUI senior Vannary Kong sat in the Student Technology Center computer lab at 2 a.m. applying for an internship position she never thought she would get.

A few months later, she got the call that proved her wrong.

Kong is spending her spring semester in New York at the United Nations headquarters as an intern with the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

“I’m still so in shock that it actually happened,” said Kong, a political science and international studies major. “Even now that I’m sitting in this office in New York, I can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true.”

The news couldn’t have come at a better time for Kong.

Financial and personal struggles had left Kong without a roof over her head and very little money to live on. She was working three jobs to make ends meet all while going to school full time. Then Glenda Ritz, the superintendent of public instruction at the time whom Kong was interning for, lost the election -- putting Kong out of a job.

However, on the same day she lost her job, another door opened for her: an internship with the United Nations. On Jan. 23, she moved to New York, thanks to a sponsorship from Orchard Medical Missions, and began her new role. Most of her work revolves around the 17 Sustainable Development goals and planning for the Public Service Awards, which will take place in the Hague, the Netherlands, on June 23. The Sustainable Development Goals support advancement in areas such as education, equality, climate action and eradicating poverty, among others, in conjunction with Agenda 2030.

Kong, who is a dual citizen of the United States and Cambodia, grew up exposed to multiple cultures. Her father is French Creole and African American; her mom is Asian. She knows firsthand the importance of diversity and cultural exchange, so her experience at the United Nations is made even richer by the fact that 95 percent of the interns are from outside the U.S. In fact, she’s the only American in her department.

“I think it is really interesting working with people from around the world, and it definitely provides an exchange of culture and ideas,” she said. “I am able to use my languages of Chinese, Cambodian and Spanish at work.”

This isn’t Kong’s first introduction to politics or internationals affairs, however. She has dedicated her college career to making as much difference as she can. She has had five internships in addition to her current position with the United Nations, which have given her opportunities to teach English, American culture and citizenship classes to refugees relocating to the United States; assist with voter registration among the refugee and college student demographics; participate in policy discussions regarding social justice; facilitate international business relations; and assist with political campaigns.

In addition to her work in politics, Kong’s upbringing contributed to her interest in international affairs. Kong’s maternal family are refugees from Cambodia, and her grandfather worked for the American Embassy before the Khmer Rouge regime took over Cambodia in 1975.

“International affairs is one of the main avenues to help accomplish solving the world's main issues, because government agencies, the public and private sectors, non-governmental agencies, civil societies and volunteers all come together to collaborate in order to help those in need. I personally want to help developing nations who struggle to help their own communities.”

While she’s in New York, Kong is taking online classes, and she will complete her undergraduate degree in December. After graduating, she plans to attend grad school and continue to strive toward her goal of bettering the world through international engagement.

Kong attributes much of her success so far to her experience at IUPUI.

“IUPUI has provided me with the platform to be a student leader and to take initiatives to gain opportunities to learn and share my own story about diversity and inclusion,” Kong said. “I’m proud to be representing IUPUI in New York.”

This article, by Bailey Briscoe, first appeared in Inside IUPUI.

Professors in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will discuss their sabbatical projects throughout the fall semester. Topics include migrant labor, the Gustav Adolf Association, religion and violent weather, philosophical reflection, and liberal arts values in internships.

The series is free and open to the public. The lectures will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the IUPUI Campus Center (CE), 420 University Blvd.

Friday, Oct. 7 (CE 309): Michael Snodgrass, international studies, “Back Home in Jalisco: Indiana Steel and Mexico’s Emigrant Heartland.” One hundred years ago, thousands of labor migrants departed the highlands of Jalisco for hard work in the steel mills of Indiana. Most returned home. Learn how this rarely explored history of return migration forged a migratory culture that persists to this day.

Wednesday, Oct. 19 (CE 309): Kevin Cramer, history, “Collecting and Giving: The Gustav Adolf Association Builds Its Philanthropic Network.” With over a thousand local branches, the Gustav Adolf Association (1843-1885) served the German diaspora in Europe and the Americas. This Protestant philanthropic network apportioned strategic decisions on collections and aid between a national executive and regional and local leadership.

Wednesday, Oct. 26 (CE 405): Peter Thuesen, religious studies, “Tornado God: American Religion and Violent Weather.” Tornadoes, nature’s most violent windstorm, strike the United States more than any other nation and pose a perennial challenge for forecasters. Tornadoes also confront Americans with profound religious mysteries. How have religious views of violent weather changed over time?

Wednesday, Nov. 2 (CE 309): Martin Coleman, philosophy, “Experience, Meaning, and the Common Practice of Philosophical Reflection.” Philosophy is the activity of reading experience and extracting meanings to enrich experience and live humanely. Why does this matter, how is philosophical reflection continuous with sense-making through storytelling?

Wednesday, Nov. 30 (CE 309): Hannah Haas, English, “Liberal Arts Values and the Internship in English.” When interns spend the bulk of their time on the job learning from supervisors, how can an online English internship course curriculum be used to ensure that interns' experiences go beyond professional training and uphold the values of a liberal arts education?

Visitor parking is available for a fee in the Vermont Street Garage.

For more information or to RSVP, email

Four liberal arts students were recognized not only among the Top 100 IUPUI students, but also among the top 20 overall and top 10 women. Awards were presented during the April 8 Top 100 Outstanding Students Recognition Dinner.

Elizabeth Alexander (senior, Spanish), Kelly Moors (junior, neuroscience/French) Jessica Sauer (junior, journalism) and Hadyatoullaye Sow (junior, international studies, medical humanities and health sciences/public health) were recognized for their academic achievements and named top 10 female students.

Faculty and staff nominated more than 2,000 students for this year’s Top 100 honors. Among the criteria: being a degree-seeking junior or senior at IUPUI, completing a minimum of 56 credit hours applicable to her/his degree program, and achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. in addition to scholastic success, judges considered extracurricular activities on campus, and civic and community service.

From the top 100 female and male students, a panel of alumni, faculty and staff chose the top 10 female and male students. From this select group, the most outstanding female and male students were selected.

The IUPUI Alumni Council and the Student Organization for Alumni Relations sponsored the event.

A complete list of the top 20 students can be found here. A full list of the Liberal Arts students in the Top 100 is available here.