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First Susan Buck Sutton award recipients

Award recipients: Jennifer Custer and Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, far right
Award recipients: Jennifer Custer and Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, far right View print-quality image

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March 7, 2013

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The IUPUI Office of International Affairs has announced the first two recipients of its new annual Susan Buck Sutton award. The award is presented to a campus faculty member and a staff member who made significant contributions to the study abroad program at IUPUI.

Jennifer Custer, program manager for the ENLACE project in the Department of Family Medicine at the IU School of Medicine, and Sotiris Hji-Avgoustis, an IU School of Physical Education and Tourism Management faculty member, were presented with their awards at the IUPUI International Festival.

The award is named in honor of Susan Buck Sutton, the first associate vice chancellor for international affairs at IUPUI.

Sutton, senior advisor for Internationalization at Bryn Mawr College, sent a message that was read at the ceremony. “Study abroad is one of the most powerful modes for developing the international skills, knowledge, and networks needed for our globalizing world… The number of IUPUI students studying abroad has grown year after year after year. This remarkable development is the direct result of the energy, commitment, and creativity shown by IUPUI staff and faculty in creating new and alternative forms of study abroad, forms that matched the distinctive nature of IUPUI's student body, opening up opportunities never available to them before…It is an honor to have my name associated with the individuals who will be receiving these awards today.”

Selection of award recipients is based on efforts to promote a campus climate where students are encouraged to study abroad and new programs are developed and supported.
Custer was described as a driving force behind the expansion of study abroad opportunities for medical students in Honduras, El Salvador, and China. Custer is currently collaborating with others in her school to develop a study abroad medical service learning opportunity for students to care for special needs children in Chinese orphanages. The School of Medicine will launch this program later this year.

Hji-Avgoustis was cited for developing study abroad programs in Germany, Kenya, and the Mediterranean and being a campus leader and advocate for international education. From providing a chance to learn about the cruise industry while at sea, to assisting in the development of the High Altitude Training Center in Kenya as a tourist attraction, these international programs were described as offering students unique opportunities and exceptional preparation for future roles in the global tourism industry and as global citizens.