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Congrats to Our 2021 CIS Student Award Winners!

Now that the 2020-21 academic year has drawn to a close, we'd like to recognize our many talented students who have won scholarships and awards — some within the college and some campus-wide. We're incredibly proud of our International and Area Studies majors and minors and our international students for their achievements. In what has been an especially challenging and tumultuous year academically, socially, politically and personally for so many, we're amazed at what these students have been able to accomplish. Below are this year's winners, and we hope you'll take a moment to read through and celebrate them along with us. We're wishing all of our students a wonderful summer break, and for those that have graduating, good luck and best wishes for the future!


Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr. Award: Munashe Mataranyika The Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr. Award recognizes an International & Area Studies student demonstrating high academic achievement, a commitment to public service and a desire to pursue a career in global affairs. Munashe is an Honors student majoring in International & Area Studies/Pre-Law with a minor in French. She is originally from Harare, Zimbabwe, and has held leadership roles with campus groups International Advisory Committee and InFocus Africa. After graduation, Munashe plans to pursue a master's in international policy and eventually a career with a non-governmental or intergovernmental organization, focusing specifically on African development.

CIS Outstanding Senior 2020: Tatenda Dzvimbo

Our fall Outstanding Senior was Tatenda Dzvimbo. Originally from Harare, Zimbabwe, Tatenda is pursuing an accelerated master's in economics and a major in International Development. She is also very involved on campus as Founder and President of African Women's League, Student Advisor for the International Advisory Committee, International Student Representative on the Norman Mayor's Student Roundtable and member of the Withrow Leadership Scholars Program, International Student Response Task Force and Integrity Council.

Iranian Studies Best Paper Prize: Gabriela Ramirez-Perez

The Iranian Studies Best Paper Prize is awarded each year to an undergrad or graduate student who submits the best paper related to Iranian Studies. Gabriela won this year's prize for her paper, “The Periphery Takes Center Stage: Behind the Scenes in the Medieval Islamic World.” According to Committee Chair Alexander Jabbari, "The committee agreed that Gabriela's paper was very well written and did an excellent job of synthesizing scholarship on premodern Iranian and Islamic history."

Thomas W. Adams Best Paper Award: Peter King

The Thomas W. Adams Best Paper Award, sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the European Union Center, is given each year to the best paper addressing an aspect of conflict resolution affecting any country that borders the Mediterranean Sea. Graduating senior Peter King won this year's award for his paper, "Terror and Radicalization in the Islamist Context: The Cases of Egypt, Palestine, and the European Muslim Diaspora," which Center for Middle East Studies director Joshua Landis described as "an excellent study of why people become radicalized in three very different contexts. He makes several well considered policy recommendations on how to counteract radicalism."


Paul and Rose Sharp Outstanding International Student Award: Cansu Demirel-Floyd

Cansu Demirel-Floyd, an international student from Turkey, has received this year's Sharp Award, which recognizes academic achievement as well as commitment to international activities at the University of Oklahoma.

Sue Williams Service Award: Youssef Kamel, Rosemary Nyirumbe

The Sue Williams Service Award is given annually to international students with an outstanding record of community service. This year's winners are Youssef Kamel, a master's student in international studies, and Rosemary Nyirumbe, a Ph.D. student in education.

Cleo Cross Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding international students at the University of Oklahoma.

2021 recipients:

Allana Calvano, Andrea de la Torre, Danya Dean, Guilherme Fonseca, Duozon Gaye, Ali Khan, Ajisunmisola Kola-Olawuyi, Joy Nath, Mercy Ndagire, Oluwayemisi Ogunade, Mona Salem, Dawit Wolde, Tengfei Wu


Boren Award for International Study: Rachel Williams

International Studies BA/MA senior Rachel Williams received the prestigious Boren Award, which will enable her to study at the Arab American Language Institute in Morocco from June 2021 until May 2022. Rachel is also an Arabic major and Spanish minor, and she served as a research associate with CIS's Cyber Governance and Policy Center. Read the press release.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program: Maddie Williams and Brianna Zenzen

In an extremely competitive year for Fulbright, Maddie Williams (left), IAS master's student in global economics and development, and Brianna Zenzen (right), senior international studies and German major, were each named an alternate for the Fulbright grant. They will receive awards if additional funding becomes available or a finalist withdraws. If selected, Maddie will work as an English teaching assistant for a year in Mongolia, and Brianna as an English teaching assistant in Germany. OU student Carson Ball, senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, was this year's only OU Fulbright finalist. Read the press release.

Critical Language Scholarship: Miguel Vazquez, Jonathon Tvaryanas

Miguel Vazquez, a senior majoring in international security studies and Arabic, and Jonathon Tvaryanas, a sophomore international security studies major, were two of six OU students awarded the 2021 Critical Language Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State. Miguel will study Turkish through TÖMER Institute, Ankara, and Jonathon will study Russian through Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod. This year's CLS programs are all online. The OU CLS winners from other colleges are Nathaniel Buxton (CAS), Conor McMahon (CAS), Aubrey Rottschaefer (CAS) and Elijah Salie (CAS). Read the blog post.

Fern Holland Award: Sarah Hobson The Fern L. Holland Award is sponsored by Student Affairs and Delta Gamma Fraternity and recognizes a full-time collegiate woman bearing the spirit of Fern Holland: a desire to make a difference in the world in the areas of democracy, human rights, women's issues or leadership. This year's winner, Sarah Hobson, is a double major in environmental engineering and global energy, environment, and resources.

Phi Kappa Phi Undergraduate Research Day Grand Prize: Brooke Foster

IAS student Brooke Foster was awarded the $500 Phi Kappa Phi Undergraduate Research Day Grand Prize by the OU Honors College! Brooke won for her project “Expressions of Place Attachment, Mobility, and Justice related to the Tar Creek Superfund Site," advised by Profs. Angela Person and Randy Peppler of the College of Architecture. Her research draws upon interviews capturing past and present experiences of the area, a former mining district in northeastern Oklahoma.

OU Carceral Studies Consortium Student Work Prize: Victoria White

The Carceral Studies Consortium, an organization within the Gibbs College of Architecture, awarded Victoria the grand prize for a research paper she wrote for Dr. Jermaine Thibodeaux's class, titled “Oklahoma! Where the Sin Comes Sweeping Down the Plain: An Analysis of How Biblical Literalism Facilitates High Female Incarceration Rates in Oklahoma.”

OU Carceral Studies Micro-Grant: Olivia Robson

IAS student Olivia Robson was jawarded a $500 micro-grant from the OU Carceral Studies Consortium for her project entitled “Environmental Justice and Incarceration.” The grant will support her work on this review type research article with Dr. Emma Colven of IAS and Dr. Anthony Levenda of Geography & Environmental Sustainability.

Graduating IAS Students with 4.0 GPA:

Bronte Bagwell, Noah M. Coen, Hannah Frome, Kara Kay, Munashe Mataranyika, Gabriela Ramirez-Perez, Jade Roberson, William R. Runion, Victoria P. White

New Phi Beta Kappa Members 2021:

The following IAS majors have been invited to join OU's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest scholastic honor society, which recognizes high academic achievement:

Abigail Barkley, Noah Coen, Madison Doyle, Sarah Hobson, Mary Mason, Munashe Mataranyika, Rohan Moghe, Leah Pearman, Josie Phillips, Gabriela Ramirez-Perez, Olivia Robson, William Runion, Victoria White, Rachel Williams


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