Smith Recognized as 2021 State Leader In International Education

Cynthia Smith, associate director of outreach programs, Office of International Students and Scholars.
University of Arkansas

Cynthia Smith, associate director of outreach programs, Office of International Students and Scholars.

Cynthia Smith, assistant director of outreach programs in the Graduate School and International Education, was awarded the 2021 Arkansas NAFSA State Award on Thursday, April 8. NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange.

The award recognizes Smith's excellence as an Arkansas international educator throughout her 21-year career. This is the second consecutive state award for U of A staff. Smith's award was announced by 2020 State Award recipient, Michael Freeman, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars.

"Cynthia's work with international programs has given Arkansas a global reputation for support of international education," Freeman said. "She is a shining star in the state for international education and the university."

As a NAFSA Trainer Corps member, Smith helped train international educators on Cultural Adjustment Theory, Program Planning and Volunteer Management as well as other areas of cross-cultural understanding.

In addition, Smith has provided vision and leadership to the International Culture Team, which is the international student speaker's bureau at the U of A, and to the iFriend program, which is a friendship program for students and community members.

"The ICT program has an incredible impact on international education in the state of Arkansas," Freeman said in his speech about the award.

Each year, Smith has taken ICT students to make presentations across Arkansas, and her team made virtual presentations in Alaska and the Bahamas during the pandemic.

Curt Rom, associate dean of international education, said, "The NAFSA State Award recognizes Cynthia's decades of work as a productive, engaged and quality staff member who enhances the university's reputation and to the cultural education of our state through her dedication to international students."

International education is an important component of the infrastructure of the U of A campus. The mission of the Office of International Students and Scholars is to enhance global perspectives, mutual respect and responsibility through collaborative programs and services for the development of international students, scholars and the greater U of A community.

NAFSA advances public policies that promote international education and is committed to supporting a broad public dialogue about the value and importance of international education. NAFSA's 10,000 members are located at more than 3,500 institutions worldwide, in over 150 countries. Region III serves the four-state area of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas.


Amy Unruh, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education


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