WAIE awards the annual Hong Rost Memorial Leadership Award for Innovation in International Education Student Service

Hong Rost Memorial Leadership Award for Innovation in International Education Student Service

The Hong Rost Memorial Leadership Award for Innovation in International Education Student Service is an annual award presented to an outstanding professional in the state of Wisconsin who embodies the dedication and passion many remember in Hong Rost. Hong was an energetic and innovative leader who dedicated her life to promoting international education and sharing that enthusiasm with her students, colleagues, and peers.

The award is presented at the WAIE Annual Conference luncheon.

For further questions about the award, contact Nina Elskamp at

About Hong Rost

Hong Rost (1959-2014) came to Wisconsin from China in 1991 and graduated with her Master’s degree from UW-La Crosse in 1994; then worked at UW-La Crosse as Assistant Director of International Education from 1995 to 2010. In 2010, Hong joined the academic staff at UW-Stout as Director of International Education where she served until an automobile accident ended her life too soon on June 19, 2014.

Hong assumed leadership roles in NAFSA, and met and maintained uncountable relationships and friendships with educators, staff, institutions and past students from around the world. Hong loved what she was doing—she was energetic and dedicated to promoting international education. She was visionary. Students, Faculty, and staff responded enthusiastically to Hong’s hard work, imaginative ideas, encouragement and help for them to pursue their own opportunities. Hong was not afraid of change—in fact that’s what energized her. She was always asking her staff to think about how to improve the office’s services to the students.
Hong’s high energy, generosity, faith and sincere interest in people have left a permanent mark of inspiration in all who knew her.

2024 Hong Rost Memorial Leadership Award recipient:

Samantha McCabe




2022 Hong Rost Award Recipient: Kevin Beisser (UW-Milwaukee)

For going above and beyond in supporting Wisconsin’s International education colleagues and the UW-Milwaukee community.

2022 Hong Rost Award Recipient: Anya Russom (UW-SUPERIOR)

For going above and beyond in supporting UW-Superior students by creating new opportunities to engage in global education and by re-evaluating current policies and practices to make study away a program for everyone.

2021 Hong Rost Award Recipient: International Student & Scholar Services, Education Abroad & International Admissions (UW- LA CROSSE)

For their unwavering energy, collaboration, inspiration, resiliance and commitment to students and each other in UWL International Education & Engagement.

2020 Hong Rost Award Recipient: Tom Howard (HES INTERNATIONAL)

Tom has been an active and committed member of the Wisconsin International Education community for many years. He is a valued colleague and mentor, and has contributed to the professional development of countless education abroad professionals in the state of Wisconsin.

Tom actively participates in NAFSA events and the Forum on Education Abroad at the national level and brings those experiences back to our state.  He has consistently volunteered his time to present full-day pre-conference workshops and conference sessions on Education Abroad at both the state and the regional levels, as well as coordinates a conference raffle, adding a fun and memorable experience to each event. Tom Howard has 35 years of experience in Study Abroad in the US, with a focus on Australian, British, and European universities and programs since 1990.  He was the first Director of the Australian Education Office (now a part of Austrade – Washington DC) and the first Regional Director for Australia/Asia/Europe’s leading study abroad provider, GlobaLinks (formerly AustraLearn, now Worldstrides). Since 2008, HES has maintained a core group of overseas universities and programs which it works with, and for whom Tom acts primarily as their Regional Manager for North America.

Tom received his undergraduate degree from Luther College (Political Science and German), which included a period of study abroad at the Ludwig Maximillians University in Munich, and his Masters from Southeast Missouri State University, a year of which was completed while serving as a Resident Director for American students in London.

2019 Hong Rost Award Recipient: Danielle Clarizio (UW-Marinette)

Danielle was nominated for the Hong Rost Memorial Award based on her work as the International Programs Director at UW-Marinette. She showed a tireless commitment to her students and a great enthusiasm for helping them acclimate to life in Wisconsin. She introduced “Tea Tuesdays” which involved brewing tea from various countries, and created several events throughout the years which allowed international students to interact with the campus community A notable event was her recreation of the 1990s game show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Danielle successfully created engaging, interactive programming which created dramatic increase in retention rates of international students on this campus.

2018 Hong Rost Award Recipient: UW-Platteville’s English Language Program

The Hong Rost Award Selection committee chose UW Platteville’s English Language Program to receive the 2018 Hong Rost Memorial Award for Innovation in International Education Student Service. Hong herself served as a consultant on the creation of this program in 2014, so it was wonderful to see that it has grown and flourished as a successful program for students. The English Language Program at UW Platteville incorporates community involvement into each semester, which allows the students to immerse themselves in the local culture. The program holds true to its mission of  “providing international and domestic students with the support needed to attain both English language proficiency and intercultural understanding” while also displaying innovation in the field. The 2018 award was presented to the ELP Coordinator Mela Lewandowski as well as the instructors, Maryam Heydari and Jesica Nkouaga.

2017 Hong Rost Award Recipient: Mark MacLean (University of Wisconsin-Superior)

This year the Hong Rost Award Selection Committee received two strong nominations. The choice was difficult, but we decided to recognize Mark MacLean for his work developing a cross-border initiative to benefit international students. Mark MacLean is the director of International Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UW-Superior). Mark recognized the need for UW-Superior to invest into an Intensive English Program (IEP) to support the students at this institution. However, instead of focusing only on the students he works with, he saw the bigger picture and found that there was a need across the border at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UM-Duluth) for a similar IEP program. Mark took the initiative to travel multiple times between the two states and work with various parties to develop the project of an IEP that benefit both UM-Duluth and UW-Superior. His dedication to serving international students as well as his willingness to collaborate for the common good of all is a reflection of the ideals that Hong Rost embodied. This is why the committee chose Mark MacLean as the recipient of the 2017 Hong Rost award.

2016 Hong Rost Award Recipient: Geoff Bradshaw (Madison College)

For his creation of the Community College Sustainable Development Network (CCSN) which has presented study abroad opportunities to students not only from Madison College but also in 19 other Community Colleges nationwide. The focus of these programs is aimed at internationalizing STEM education and expanding community college participation in study abroad. The CCSN provides transformational service learning opportunities abroad for students. It also delivers training for faculty across the country which allows them to grow opportunities at their home campuses.

2015 Hong Rost Award Recipients: Rosie Buser and Crystal Marschsall (University of Wisconsin OshkosH)

For their collaboration with students enrolled in Quest III and the Intensive English Program. The Quest III courses at UW-Oshkosh focus on community involvement and civic engagement. Crystal had her class pair up with Rosie’s IEP students to work together on various projects. This collaboration benefited the students who were trying to improve their language skills and also helped UW Oshkosh students interact with students from various cultural backgrounds.