International Spotlight

University of Illinois Announces 2014 International Achievement Awards Honorees

Matt VanderZalm
3/9/2015  8:00 am

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois International have chosen a list of esteemed winners for its annual International Achievement Awards, they announced today.

The winners—who range from alumni, to faculty and students—will be celebrated for their work at the annual International Achievement Awards banquet, being held on April 9th, 2015 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. Dr. Byung-Ho Chung, recipient of the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement, will give the annual International Alumni Lecture at Alice Campbell Alumni Center on April 9 at 9:30 am. The event is free and open to the public.


The full list of 2014 International Achievement Award recipients are as follows:

  • Dr. Byung-Ho Chung: Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement

  • Dr. Mohammad Babadoost and Dr. Prasanta Kalita: co-recipients of the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement

  • Patrick Walsh: Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award

  • Gregory Damhorst: Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award

  • Nora Onstad: Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement Award

"We are indeed pleased to honor notable alumni such as Dr. Chung and Mr. Walsh, hard-working faculty like Professor Babadoost and Professor Kalita, and outstanding students such as Mr. Damhorst and Ms. Onstad,” said Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela, vice provost for international affairs and global strategies. “These individuals exemplify Illinois’ commitment to being a truly global university by making significant impacts around the world."


Established in 2000, the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement is awarded annually to a distinguished international alumnus or alumna who has helped to better their own nation or the world through their contributions to government, humanity, science, art or human welfare. In subsequent years, the Faculty, Young Humanitarian, Graduate, and Undergraduate awards were created, recognizing the critical role these groups play in promoting Illinois’ identity and exemplifying Illinois’ values as a top international university.


Past winners of the Sheth International Alumni Award include Ecuador President Rafael Correa, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, and Kandeh Yumkella, director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.


Illinois International is an administrative unit at Illinois comprised of over twenty sub-units, each of which manages a different component of Illinois’ international dimension. Illinois International serves as a central resource for all things international from administrative units, such as International Student and Scholar Services and the campus Study Abroad office, to an array of regional and thematic studies centers.


For more information about the awards and past recipients, visit: international.illinois.edu/grants/awards.html


More about this year’s recipients:


Dr. Byung-Ho Chung,
a native of South Korea, is the founding director of the Institute for Globalization and Multicultural Studies at Hanyang University. He earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Illinois in 1983 and 1992, respectively. Dr. Chung is being honored for his work on social activism and education reform extending throughout East Asia. The founder or co-founder of six civil society social justice organizations, he has focused particularly on the relationship between North and South Korea, promoting multiculturalism and peace and establishing organizations to care for refugees, many of them children. His leadership at Hanyang University and his anthropological research have inspired students and community leaders in efforts for social reform.


Dr. Mohammad Babadoost
is professor of plant pathology and extension specialist in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois. Dr. Prasanta Kalita is a professor of soil and water resources engineering and is the director of the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, also in the College of ACES. The Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement is presented to faculty with profound international accomplishments in teaching, research and public service. Dr. Babadoost is being honored for his work in improving the science of plant pathology and global food security throughout the world, especially in Mexico, Caucuses Region, Central Asia Region, China, and the Middle East.  As coordinator of the Library Assistant Program, he has created access to agricultural and educational information to universities and research institutes around the world. Dr. Kalita is being honored for his efforts in water resources management, which have improved water quality and created pollution control connections spanning multiple continents, as well as his mentorship of students.


Patrick Walsh
is a founder of Greenlight Planet Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of solar-powered LED lights for the developing world. The Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award recognizes the meritorious contributions, research and commitment of the university’s young international humanitarians. Walsh is being honored for his work with Greenlight. He designed Greenlight Planet's first solar lantern as an undergraduate student after spending a summer in rural India with the campus student organization Engineers Without Borders. The company has so far sold over three million Sun King lamps to off-grid families in South Asia and Africa. He graduated from Illinois in 2007 with a B.S. in engineering physics and a B.A. in economics.


Gregory Damhorst
is a bioengineering and medical graduate student at Illinois. The Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award recognizes a graduate student whose innovative and sustained international research or public service abroad has had the greatest impact (or has the greatest potential impact) on the university, larger community or internationally. He is being honored for his research focused on HIV/AIDS, his development of the Global Health Initiative at Illinois, humanitarian work, and interfaith efforts that have aided communities in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Haiti. Damhorst received a B.S. in physics in 2009 and an M.S. in bioengineering in 2013, both from Illinois.


Nora Onstad is a senior in agricultural and biological engineering at Illinois. The Illinois International Undergraduate Achievement Award recognizes an undergraduate student for a significant service or contribution resulting from participation in an international study course, program or project. She is being honored for her efforts with Engineers Without Borders, which included providing a community in rural Cameroon with clean water. Upon her return to campus, she has demonstrated her leadership and collaboration in continued global water quality work.