The Rising Star Young Leader Award is given annually in recognition of a professional who has impacted the field of international education during the first five years of the recipient's area of work. The rising star will have demonstrated a commitment to internationalization and an ingenuity of thought that has the potential for having substantial and lasting influence upon global education. Awardees will receive a framed recognition plaque.

Nominations for this award are forwarded from NAFSA regions. 

Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn

Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn
Gallaudet University
Becca is the coordinator of education abroad at Gallaudet University. Gallaudet University is the only liberal arts bilingual university in the world that focuses on teaching, research, and engagement communicating through both American Sign Language and English. She is a NAFSA Academy graduate, a...

Carolyn Becker

Carolyn Becker
Texas Woman's University
Carolyn Becker works as the Director of Education Abroad at Texas Woman's University. She has been able to work directly with a unique and diverse student population to provide support related to education abroad opportunities. In addition, she serves as the President-Elect of her institution’s...

Luis Legapsi

luis legapsi
University of California, San Diego
Luis Legaspi is a study abroad advisor at the University of California, San Diego. A native of Sacramento, Legaspi graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Textiles and Clothing, with an emphasis in Marketing. Utilizing his multiple experiences abroad and marketing skill set, Legaspi works on...
All Past Recipients
  • Carolyn Becker, Texas Woman’s University (2018)
  • Luis Legaspi (2017), University of California-San Diego (2017)
  • Shao Chen (Johanna) Pan-Carr, Fordham University (2016)
  • Seth Riker, University of Kentucky (2015)
Criteria for Selecting Nominees

To be considered for the Rising Star Young Leader Award a nominee:

  • May or may not be a NAFSA member
  • Has served in their present area of expertise/specialization no more than 5 years
  • Shows passion and has made significant contributions to their department, unit, institution, organization, to the NAFSA community, and/or to the field of international education
  • Has engaged in activities such as:
    • Organized or led an activity or range of activities or services within their organization that promotes international education
    • Demonstrated innovation in their area of specialization
    • Presented at conferences and/or have engaged in publications of their work
    • Contributed to international education as a volunteer leader, etc.
  • Shows promise in making further contributions to the field of international education as a leader
Selection Information

Nominations for the Rising Star Young Leader award are forwarded from NAFSA regions. Each NAFSA region may nominate one candidate annually.