At their annual conference in July, International ACAC (Association for College Admission Counseling) presented their prestigious Distinguished Service Award to UWCSEA East University Advisor, Joan Liu, for her contributions to International ACAC over the years, having served as the association's VP of Inclusion, Access and Success and in particular for her work in leading the International ACAC Scholar Program.
Joan wrote about what it meant to her to receive the award:
"I was honored and humbled to receive the Distinguished Service Award. To be alongside Marie Vivas, who created the first scholarship when she was president, and Ed Tourle, who was part of Scholar Cohort 2015, means a lot to me.
One thing that makes International ACAC so special is that everything - the conference, institutes, webinars, mentorship, and initiatives - are run by member volunteers. The International ACAC Scholar Program came to fruition through the behind-the-scenes work of an extraordinary IAS committee, the support of the board, and our membership (thank you for donating, for running the 5K, for your nominations!). I am honored to be part of a collective effort to reach out to educators, schools, and countries that do not usually have access to professional development, training, and important resources for students.
I am in awe of the Scholars and the critical work they do in helping students access international higher education and financial aid. Personally and professionally, I have witnessed how education changes the trajectory of lives, families, and whole communities. Education is the greatest tool we have to bring the world together and all of us are part of this endeavor.
International ACAC has an important role to play in supporting high achieving, low income students around the world, by reaching those who work most closely with them. My wish advice for you is this: Do not underestimate what you can do and learn as a volunteer. I have learned as much in this service role as I have in my full-time work. Dare to be a volunteer. Always do more, not less. You have the power to make a difference for colleagues, students, and communities around the world."
Congratulations, Joan! Thank you for all you do to support UWCSEA students and to help develop capacity for counselors and students in communities that may not otherwise have access to professional development or vital resources.