NAFSA Region XI Distinguished Service Award – API Blog

November 16, 2018
API's Amy Whitish-Temple with NAFSA award

Here at API, we know we work with some of the best, most passionate people in international education. But it’s always nice when NAFSA confirms that! 🙂 Today we’re spotlighting & congratulating our own Amy Whitish-Temple. She was recently honored with the NAFSA Region XI Distinguished Service Award.

API's Amy Whitish-Temple with NAFSA award

How and when did you get started in international education?

After studying abroad in Mexico for a summer and in Madrid, Spain for an academic year while at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, I knew two things: that I wanted to keep learning Spanish and that I hoped to continue traveling and living abroad. After graduating, I got a job teaching English as a Second Language to future Fulbrighters at the Binational Center in Managua, Nicaragua. I then served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic from 1995-1997. After that, I obtained a Master’s degree in TESOL from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  My first official job in international education came in 2001 when I was hired to be a study abroad advisor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

What have been some of the biggest successes/challenges of your career?

Over the course of my career,  I have worked in various roles within the field of international education. These include teaching ESL, serving as an Alternate Responsible Office (ARO), working for a study abroad program provider and more. The consistent challenge in all of these roles has been having sufficient funding for scholarship opportunities for students. These students are hoping to either study in the U.S. or abroad. Another challenge is filling positions at partner universities so that international programs offices have proper staffing. An ongoing barrier to many undergraduate students hoping to study abroad (particularly at public institutions) is how to be able to afford it without incurring too much debt. Scholarship programs such as the Fulbright Programs have undergone deep budget cuts, and many of the offices at our partner institutions are understaffed. 
I strive to do good work, even when things are challenging. In my various roles, I have been able to impact the lives of hundreds of students and their families, as well as young professionals in the field of international education. I have done so by helping students to study abroad or come to the U.S. to obtain a master’s or Ph.D, degree, helping students to look for funding, developing scholarship programs that benefitted many participants, and mentoring and teaching both students and young professionals.

What are some of the accomplishments in your career that you are most proud of?

In my current role at API as Regional Director for Institutional Relations and Outreach in New England, I feel that almost all of the positions I have held in international education to date have come together nicely and coalesced in a way that hadn’t happened previously in my career. An example of this includes leading a very successful and well received API Faculty-led program to Cuba for a local partner institution in New England. This has definitely been a highlight of my career! Another example is the work that I do with a team of my colleagues to design, implement, and impart staff training sessions to the Institutional Relations team at API biannually.
I am also very proud of having created and developed two scholarships for international students to study in the U.S. In one instance, I secured a $2.4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to design and launch a postgraduate scholarship program to benefit community leaders from underrepresented areas in Haiti and Mexico. In addition, I developed and set up a scholarship program with the private sector in the Dominican Republic to strengthen the public education system. 



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