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. 

Nominations for this award are forwarded from NAFSA regions. 

Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn

Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn
Gallaudet University
Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn 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...

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...

To be eligible 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
Nomination Procedures

Nominations for the Rising Star Young Leader award are forwarded from NAFSA regions. Each NAFSA region may nominate one candidate annually. To receive information about the nomination procedure, contact the NAFSA Regions team.

Benefits and Recognition

The awardee will receive:

  • Complimentary registration to attend NAFSA Annual Conference to receive their award
  • Recognition on stage during a NAFSA Annual Conference plenary, with reserved audience seating for the awardee and two designated guests
  • Acknowledgement on Circle of Excellence signage at the NAFSA Annual Conference and on the NAFSA website
  • A video interview to be hosted on the NAFSA website
  • An invitation to the NAFSA Appreciation Reception for the awardee and two designated guests
  • An opportunity to review Shared Interest proposals for a future annual conference
  • A framed recognition plaque to display at their home or office
  • An invitation to write a NAFSA blog post on their connections to international education, NAFSA leadership, etc.
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)