Category: Alumni

Scholarship recipients and donors recognized at annual award ceremony

Students will be taking on academic, internship, and research opportunities around the world during the upcoming year, thanks to the generosity of donors from across campus. The fall 2016 International Division Scholarship Award Ceremony, held December 6 at the Gordon Dining and Event Center, brought students, faculty, and staff together to celebrate students receiving scholarships and recognize the donors who made the awards possible.

Students with thank you sign

Students show off their scholarship award certificates and a sign thanking donors at the 2017 International Division Scholarship Award Ceremony.

“All of you embarking on something new,” said Dan Gold, director of International Academic Programs and MC for the award ceremony. “If you approach it in the right way it will be incredibly meaningful and impact you for the rest of your life.” Continue reading

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Completes Service in Uganda

Lindsay Carrera

Lindsay Carrera

Peace Corps Volunteers know that service isn’t a bucket list item; it’s a life-long dedication. Once you are part of the Peace Corps family, you are always a member. No one knows that better than Lindsay Carrera, a Hartland, Wisconsin, native who recently completed her service in Uganda.

“I have always wanted to do Peace Corps – since I was young,” Carrera said, “I love learning about people and trying to help. It was an educational experience.”

As a primary education teacher trainer in Uganda from 2013-16, Carrera provided training and support to elementary school teachers. She also worked intensively with administrators and primary school management committees to improve education in her community.

Read the full story in the original post on Central Peace Corps Volunteers.

Story credited to PEACECORPSCHICAGO.

Alumni profile: Coming to UW-Madison, going abroad opens up new worlds for Lopez

Daniella Lopez learned early on how it feels to be different, to be in the minority. But Lopez grew up with a fierce determination to push forward, which has carried her from a small Wisconsin town to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, to Europe, and now in China.

“My family was one of two minority families in Westfield, Wisconsin, a small farming and chicken factory community,” says Lopez, the oldest of four children.

“In high school, I wanted to go to a big liberal city for college and I applied only to UW–Madison. I was the only one from my graduating class to be accepted,” she says. “My mother was thrilled, since that would make me the first person in our family to go to college.”

Daniella Lopez, second from right, with friends at UW-Madison.

Daniella Lopez, second from right, with friends at UW-Madison.

Continue reading

Peace Corps: Reed sees service as investment

His studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison fostered Patrick Reed’s interest in exploring different cultures and perspectives. Add to that a desire to serve others.

Since receiving his B.A. in history and international studies from UW–Madison in 2011, Reed has followed a path of service.

“I traveled the country for two years, volunteering in impacted communities helping with recovery and capacity building,” says Reed, who served with AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps.

Next, his call to serve will carry the 26-year-old from Grayslake, Illinois, overseas. As one of the latest UW–Madison alumni to sign with the Peace Corps, he reports in mid-June 2016 as a community health extension volunteer in Swaziland, a small, landlocked country in southern Africa.

“My time at UW–Madison was a great first step in my pursuit of Peace Corps,” he says. Continue reading

Alumni profile: When opportunities called, Sternberg learned to say yes

Thomas Sternberg emphasizes the importance of saying yes.

“If opportunities arise, while there may be risks, the benefits may far outweigh them,” he says.

As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Sternberg said yes in 1969 to an opportunity to study in Taiwan. While there, this Jewish kid from New York said yes to an invitation to help out an American Jesuit priest who was legally blind.

Thomas Sternberg

Thomas Sternberg

“He wanted to take a group of his students on a trip around Taiwan, but was afraid because of his eyesight,” recalls Sternberg. “He asked if I were interested in accompanying him and the group to be his eyes.  I said yes and we embarked on a one-week journey in a 1956 Ford station wagon, with a driver and five students around the island of Taiwan.”

Sternberg, who went on to become CEO of his own independent insurance agency, muses, “Escorting a blind priest and five of his students around a far-off island in Asia in a ’56 Ford … priceless.”

To make such “priceless” opportunities available to future generations, he established a scholarship, named in honor of Chou Kuo-ping, the professor who arranged for him to go to Taiwan. Since 2004, this scholarship has provided support for 177 UW–Madison students to study in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

“It was important to me that the scholarship focus on Chinese-speaking countries,” says Sternberg, who chairs the UW–Madison International Division’s Advisory Board. “After all, a person who speaks both English and Chinese can communicate with a majority of the people on the planet.  And think of how much better the planet is when people talk to each other.” Continue reading

Tradition of serving others keeps drawing UW-Madison alumni into Peace Corps

Rita Argus recalls hearing her professors at the University of Wisconsin–Madison talk about the Wisconsin Idea, “the thought that what we are learning in the classroom should be applicable to real-world situations.”

“I think this has conditioned me to better apply what I learned to help with problems and challenges I am encountering here,” says Argus, who graduated from UW–Madison in May 2014 with a degree in biological systems engineering.

Rita Argus

Rita Argus

When she speaks of “here,” Argus is referring to Senegal in West Africa, where she has been working with a Senegalese master farmer to train local farmers in sustainable agriculture and agroforestry practices. She also is helping a local agricultural research group distribute seeds and gather information to help improve seed variety throughout the country.

Argus, 24, of Helenville, Wis., is one of 68 UW–Madison alumni currently in the field as Peace Corps Volunteers.

For the second year in a row, UW–Madison is the second-largest producer of Peace Corps Volunteers, according to the agency’s 2016 list of Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities, released February 18.

UW–Madison has been a leading source for Peace Corps Volunteers throughout the agency’s history:

  • Since the Peace Corps began its annual rankings in 2001, UW–Madison has been among the top producers every year and has held the No. 1 spot for six years, from 2001 to 2006, and in 2014.
  • Since 1961, when the Peace Corps was created, 3,184 UW–Madison alumni have served overseas, making the campus the No. 2 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

Continue reading

Kasai’s journey: From UW student to chairman of Central Japan Railway

“Since you never know when your life will end,” Yoshiyuki Kasai says, “it is not meaningful to draw up a whole life plan that assumes you will enjoy a long life.”

Instead, Kasai says, “What is important is to hold convictions and try to aim for the summit of a high mountain in the distance. While you are trying to get there, your life will be filled with uncertainties, and what you should be doing is to do your very best, day in and day out.”

Kasai offers this bit of advice in a book he wrote recently to help guide the next generation of leaders. He draws on the experiences of climbing his own mountain.


Yoshiyuki Kasai

He began his journey in 1963 when he joined the Japanese National Railways, where he held a variety of positions including corporate planning and labor management.

After the privatization of Japan National Railways in 1987, he became president in 1995 and chairman in 2004 of Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), the country’s leading high-speed-rail operator. Now he serves as the Chairman Emeritus of JR Central, but his journey to the summit is still en route.

Along the way, his path brought him to the American Midwest, when the Japanese government sent him to UW–Madison to study economics in the late 1960s.

Kasai recently sat down with Lora Klenke, managing director for international alumni relations with the UW–Madison International Division and the Wisconsin Alumni Association, to talk about his Wisconsin connections and his successful career. Continue reading

Veteran diplomat Lange to talk with UW students about international careers

Retired U.S. Ambassador John E. Lange, a UW-Madison alumnus, will share insights a forum open to all students interested in international careers, on Thursday, October 15, from 2 to 3 p.m. in Room 206 of Ingraham Hall.

John Lange

John Lange

This session also will include information about UW-Madison’s Washington, D.C. Semester in International Affairs Program.

Lange is the Senior Fellow for Global Health Diplomacy at the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC. From 2009 to 2013, he worked on global health issues in Africa for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Continue reading

Yao to lecture on understanding China’s economic growth

Yao Yang, dean of the National School of Development and director of the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University in Beijing, will deliver a free public lecture on Understanding the Political Economy of China’s Economic Growth on Tuesday, March 24, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus.

Yao Yang

Yao Yang

Yao, who earned his Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics at UW-Madison in 1996, will discuss his recent research into what he refers to as “the Chinese system of selectocracy” and how this has influenced China’s economic growth.

The lecture will held on Tuesday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m., in Memorial Union’s Tripp Commons, as the third installment of the “Red Cap” series on China and Global Economics. Ian Coxhead, professor and chair of the UW-Madison’s Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, will introduce the speaker.

The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin China Initiative (WCI), the Division of International Studies, and the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics. The first 200 attendees will receive a free WCI cap. Continue reading