Human Rights Practice Graduate Certificate student Hope Noriega was one of two awardees recognized as a NAFSA Region II International Volunteer of the Year. Noriega is an Admissions Enrollment Counselor with University of Arizona International. The award was presented at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region II Conference held in Flagstaff, Arizona, on October 17, 2022.
This award is presented annually, as stated on the NAFSA website(link is external), "to a community volunteer whose work with international programs and activities merits special recognition, likely recipients may include those whose efforts were responsible for the creation of permanent community or institutional programs, improved community awareness of international cultures, or some other equally meritorious contribution to international exchange."
Noriega was nominated by her colleague, Cassidy Gardner, a fellow enrollment counselor in the Office of International Admissions. In her nomination, Gardner wrote:
"Hope is an ideal nominee for the International Volunteer of the Year Award for a few reasons. Not only does she go above and beyond for her students at the university, but her work in the Southern Arizona community is particularly noteworthy. She is a volunteer with Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest as a mentor for youth refugees in their resettlement program. She is a major influence on international adolescent refugees in our community and goes above and beyond to help them feel welcome and have guidance. She also volunteers with her local church in Nogales working in the Sunday School. I hope you will consider her for the International Volunteer of the Year Award.”
In addition to her volunteer work and role on the International Admission team, Noriega is pursuing an online Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Practice through the University of Arizona, and plans to apply her experience to international community relations.
"International Admissions is incredibly lucky to have Hope as part of our team. She is a natural leader, and a kind and considerate colleague who is passionate about supporting international students coming to UArizona," said Katie Van Wyk, associate director, international enrollment counseling. "Hope brings warmth and enthusiasm to her role recruiting students from North America and the Caribbean. Our entire team is proud to congratulate her on this well-deserved award as Volunteer of the Year for NAFSA Region II."
The award was presented by Arizona International Senior Business Analyst and colleague Lara Pfaff during the conference. Pfaff is current chair-elect for Region II and will serve as NAFSA Region II Chair beginning January 2023.