The Office of Global Engagement was well-represented at the 2019 Provost’s Unit Awards for Excellence on March 26. The University Awards for Excellence represent NC State’s highest honor for non-faculty members.
Mollie Khanna, Kory Saunders and Eric Syty represented three of the twelve nominees from various Provost’s Office units around campus. Each nominee received a certificate of recognition.
- Business Officer, Study Abroad Office
- Category: Efficiency and Innovation
Khanna joined the Study Abroad Office in 2016 as a business officer, a position created to ensure accuracy, integrity, and accountability for the growing financial operations of the office. With no “how-to” manual at her disposal, she began to assess those areas needing improvement and immediately began making recommendations to increase efficiency and to improve financial and administrative processes. Khanna has spent countless hours meeting with campus partners to build relationships and strengthen collaborations to better support study abroad program directors. She also frequently consults with peers within the state to identify new and innovative ways for our office operations.
Khanna is also a leader on campus, serving on the Staff Senate and as the Chair of the External Affairs subcommittee, as well as in the field of international education, where she shares her skills and expertise as a frequent presenter at state and national conferences. She has proven herself as an invaluable and an outstanding leader in the Study Abroad Office. Khanna has a genuine interest in making the office and the university a better place than it was before.
- International Programs Coordinator, Study Abroad Office
- Category: Human Resources
Saunders joined the Study Abroad Office in 2017 to coordinate the office’s diversity and inclusion efforts. In addition to working tirelessly on behalf of students, she has strengthened the quality of the office’s outreach efforts, significantly enhancing the resources provided on different student identities, and improving the public image and perspective of study abroad — that it is indeed for all students.
Saunders regularly holds office/advising hours at Campus Community Centers and has led numerous workshops and panel discussions for students addressing diversity and inclusion in study abroad, as well as several workshops and seminars, both on-campus and with state and national professional organizations. She goes above and beyond to mentor students, including volunteering with the Women of Color Retreat and the Black Male Initiative, among other groups. All of this is beyond her official job responsibilities, yet she does this because she is genuinely driven by her personal mission to mentor, and promote inclusion for all.
Her use of her skills and expertise helps to elevate NC State’s reputation in the field of international education. She serves on the board of the North Carolina Association of International Educators, and a task force of the national organization, Diversity Abroad. She has quickly become a sought-after presenter at state and national conferences on diversity and including in education abroad. Saunders’ thoughtfulness and positivity are a welcome inspiration to the Study Abroad team and her colleagues say that Kory “regularly inspires us to put forth our best efforts.”
- Administrative Support Associate, Office of International Services
- Category: Customer Service
In his role as Administrative Support Associate and as first point of contact at the front desk, Syty juggles the phones, email and high volume of foot traffic, serving over 4,000 international students as well as administratively supporting the 18 Office of International Services staff and student workers. A colleague reflected on Maya Angelou’s statement that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” and wrote in a nomination letter that Syty’s welcoming spirit, professional service, and care as the face of OIS positively impacts how the international community feels at NC State.”
Noting that Syty must also face linguistic and cultural challenges of communicating with many international students, his colleague wrote “in this respect, he is not just very good at what he is doing, he is exceptionally good” and continued to write that to do this job, it takes a “harmonious state of mind, inherently kind heart, outstanding interpersonal skills and a great sense of humor. To Eric, every student matters.”