Amy Otis-De Grau, who is director of international education at Hope College, has received the Professional Development Award from IES Abroad.
IES Abroad, which is one of the largest third-party providers of study-abroad experiences in the United States, gives the award to an educator who has served the study-abroad field in a professional and committed manner. Otis-De Grau received the award on Thursday, Oct. 15, during the organization's annual conference in Chicago, Ill.
"She has served the field of international education with boundless energy and has successfully taken on new projects and programs," IES Abroad stated in its release announcing the award. "At Hope College, she works tirelessly and enthusiastically for students and keeps faculty informed of changes in study-abroad and new international study programs."
Otis-De Grau has been a member of the international education staff at Hope since 1996, and has served as director of the office since 2007. She was nominated for the Professional Development Award by Dr. Neal Sobania, who preceded her as director of international education at Hope before he became executive director of PacificLutheranUniversity's WangCenter for International Programs.
Otis-De Grau joined the Hope staff shortly after graduating from the college with a German major, serving initially as office manager and coordinator of special programs. She was promoted to assistant director in 2002 and associate director in 2006.
Following her promotion to assistant director, she agreed to run international student admissions. In that additional role, she developed a recruiting plan focused on regions in which the college had natural links and alumni, contacted schools, and personally contacted both international applicants and their school counselors. As a result of her work, international student admissions grew at the college.
During the 2001-02 academic year, Otis-De Grau studied at the Torchbearer Bible School in Holysbybrunn, Sweden. In July of 2007 she completed a Master of Arts degree in conflict transformation and peace studies at the School for International Training - a natural progression from her humanitarian aid work in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
She has served on several IES committees through the years, including the Nominations Committee.
International education has been a component of a Hope education since shortly after the college's founding in 1866. Two out of the six students in Hope's graduating Class of 1879 were Japanese; one of the two was the valedictorian, delivering the graduation address in both Latin and Japanese.
The office of international education was formally established in April 1965, announced during a visit to Holland and Hope by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The prince was in Holland for the dedication of Windmill Island.
Each year, approximately 275 Hope students study abroad through either semester-long or full-year programs or shorter summer programs. In addition, Hope is hosting 67 international students from 28 countries during the current school year.
IES Abroad, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2010, is a global, not-for-profit organization offering study-abroad programs to more than 5,000 US college students each year who participate in 90 programs at more than 30 international locations. IES Abroad offers programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America.