Experts From Abroad Named to UA's First International Scholar Academy


Eighteen elite researchers, professionals and instructors from around the world who are doing work at the UA have been chosen for the first International Scholar Academy. The 2018-19 cohort began in September and will continue through April.

UA Global created the academy with support from the Graduate College and Research, Discovery and Innovation to accelerate the professional growth of the participants.

"Not only do our international scholars provide a wealth of knowledge in their areas of expertise, but they also bring new experiences and cultures that touch all of us at the UA," said Dana Bleau, executive director of international faculty and scholars at UA Global. "We created ISA to provide a comprehensive resource to our visiting scholars that will allow them to cultivate key skills as they progress in their careers."

The UA hosts more than 1,500 international faculty members and scholars from more than 87 countries.

Yana Roka-Moiia, visiting from Ukraine, is conducting postdoctoral research in cardiovascular biology. She found a listing for her current position, an opportunity to work with Dr. Marvin J. Slepian at the Sarver Heart Center, about two years ago.

"I thought maybe the position was too fancy for me, but I received an invitation," she said. "I'm so happy to be here. Dr. Slepian gathers such intelligent, friendly and helpful people in his lab."

Roka-Moiia recently learned her position was extended for an additional three years.

She often takes advantage of professional development resources provided by Postdoctoral Affairs and was eager to be part of ISA to supplement those opportunities.

ISA includes six intensive workshops, including sessions on global grant development and scientific poster creation, as well as workshops coordinated by the Writing Skills Improvement Program on professional writing and presentation techniques.

"The workshops on writing skills and grant development are so important because, without grants, labs won't survive," Roka-Moiia said. "I thought ISA was a great opportunity, especially for a postdoc in the early stages of her career. Learning how to secure grant funding is a survival skill."

UA Global also added components to ISA focused on personal marketing strategies and approaches for making – and sustaining – international connections.

"ISA is aimed at providing tools and training to help visiting scholars from partner institutions around the world be successful and network outside their host departments," said Dale LaFleur, senior director of international partnerships at UA Global. "The connections the scholars make at the University of Arizona are critical to the long-term sustainability of these partnerships and to the scholars' advancement in their respective fields."

Bleau has supported thousands of visiting scholars over the span of her career, seeing firsthand the contributions they make.

"The value and impact of our international scholars is immeasurable," Bleau said. "I truly believe they energize our students and young faculty to think bigger, to think globally."

The 2018-19 participants, their countries of origin and their fields are:

  •  Abeer A. I. Hassanin, Egypt, Genetics and Genetic Engineering
  •  Chih-Wei (Robert) Hsieh, Taiwan, Transportation and Logistics Management
  •  Toshinori Kato, Japan, International Education Administration
  •  Mengdi Liu, China, Environmental Planning and Management
  •  Xiao Liu, China, Environmental Science
  •  Yizhang Liu, China, Environmental Science
  •  Yao Mu, China, Geosciences
  •  Sadia Musharraf, Pakistan, Cyberbullying and Victimization in Students
  •  Xi-Zhi Niu, China, Environmental Science
  •  Yana Roka-Moiia, Ukraine, Biology and Biochemistry
  •  Chun-Chuan Wang, Taiwan, Counseling
  •  Ting Wang, China, Information Management and Data Mining
  •  Qi Wei, China, Food Science
  •  Hai Wu, China, Science and Technology
  •  Ying Yuan, China, Foreign Language
  •  Ihsan Elahi Zaheer, Pakistan, Heavy Metal Toxicity
  •  Yunchuan Zeng, China, Geochemistry
  •  Yuankai Zhang, China, Management Science and Engineering