Do you have a colleague who is doing amazing work in international education? Consider submitting a nomination for one of our four regional awards.

Nomination details can be found under each award description. Award nominations will open soon.

Questions? Please contact NAFSA Region VII Past Chair, Jenifer Ruby.

View past recipients for all awards

Sylvia Shortt Memorial Community Volunteer Award

Purpose: to recognize important and significant contributions of unpaid volunteers, who support international initiatives both on campus and within the local communities in Region VII. View past recipients.

In recognition of her years of service, and dedication to the region and the field of International Education, NAFSA Region VII has renamed the community volunteer award to honor Sylvia Shortt. 

Sylvia was employed for 31 years at the University of West Georgia and retired as the Associate Director of International Services and Programs in December 2012 but continued her association with the University serving as a Volunteer Alumni Coordinator for the UWG Alumni Association. Sylvia was a recognized leader in numerous national, regional, state, and local professional organizations throughout her career and following her retirement. She was a founding member of the Georgia College Counseling Association, instrumental in developing the American College Counseling Association, and served for many years, even after her retirement on the NAFSA Region VII Team as the Conference Planner. Sylvia was considered a mentor by many higher education professionals and known as the “American” Mother to hundreds of international students.  

Sylvia Shortt passed on December 17, 2020 in Athens, GA following a brief illness. 

Nomination and Application Procedure

Dr. Alejandra Parra Award for International Excellence

Purpose: to honor a highly experienced individual at the culmination of their career who has best exemplified the true spirit of international education. View past recipients.

In recognition of her years of service, and dedication to the region and the field of International Education, NAFSA Region VII has renamed the international excellence award to honor Dr. Alejandra Parra.

From the tribute page by Florida International University: "The consummate international educator, Dr. Parra had an unending passion for promoting and facilitating learning experiences across the globe. Throughout her 30-year career in the field, she nurtured thousands of international students and scholars, guiding them toward achieving their academic and professional goals. Dr. Parra also expanded the range of study abroad programs across the globe to meet students’ needs and provided guidance to faculty and staff to ensure that all learning experiences were of the highest quality.

Dr. Parra’s comprehensive knowledge in global mobility, both in and outbound, across higher education served as the critical backbone that kept our international community safe and on track towards its educational goals when the COVID-19 pandemic arose in Spring 2020. The unprecedented challenges the global pandemic presented required countless hours of responding to students’ and faculty’s needs and the recalibrating of office operations to virtually serve our 4,000 international students while ensuring compliance with the quickly changing U.S. entry requirements. Collaborating with the Office of Global Learning Initiatives, under her leadership, the team created and ran professional development workshops for faculty to offer 30 innovative virtual study abroad courses with a combined enrollment of over 2,100 students.

Dr. Parra was regarded with the utmost esteem by international education peers throughout Florida. She held multiple leadership positions, including Chair for the Florida Association of International Educators, Florida Representative for the Executive Board of NAFSA Region VII, and NAFSA Academy Coach. Last year, Dr. Parra was recognized with the NAFSA Association of International Educators Region VII 2022 International Excellence Award."

Alejandra Parra passed on March 16, 2023, surrounded by her loved ones, after a long battle with cancer. 

Nominations and Application Procedure

New Professional Award

Purpose: to recognize an individual in the region who has made an outstanding contribution to international education through his or her enthusiasm, potential for leadership, and actual accomplishments in his or her institution or community and Region VII. The award was established in 1989 by the Region VII Team. View past recipients.

  • Nomination Deadline: September 27, 2024
  • Questions? Please contact NAFSA Region VII Past Chair, Jenifer Ruby.
  • Recipient of the New Professional Award is nominated by the Region VII team for the NAFSA Rising Star Young Leader Award.
Nominations and Application Procedure

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in International Education Award

Purpose: Created in 2020, this award recognizes an international education professional in the region whose work fosters inclusive practices, promotes diversity, or advances equitable systems at their institution.

Nomination and Application Procedure