Alumnus/a of the Year Award

Since 1998, the SIS Alumni of the Year award has recognized an SIS alumnus/a (graduate or undergraduate) who exemplifies the ideals and values of the School - a change agent serving the community and helping to make the world a better place, whether working in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. SIS invites alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to nominate alumni who fit the criteria. The award is traditionally announced and conferred every April at an embassy dinner in Washington, D.C.

Current Alumnus/a of the Year Award Recipients

Kayla Williams, SIS/MA '08
Director, Center for Women Veterans

After serving as an Arabic interpreter in the in Operation Iraqi Freedom for the US Army, she returned home to find that people had no clue that women were at war or in the military. This led her to champion the voices and needs of female veterans through activism and writing. She now directs the Center for Women Veterans at the US Department of Veteran Affairs, where she oversees healthcare, benefits, and a variety of programs for women who have served our country.

Davina Durgana, SIS/PhD '15
Senior Statistician, Walk Free Foundation

Davina develops statistical models that track the location and vulnerability of human trafficking victims. When she started in this field, many anti-trafficking efforts were based on anecdotal evidence, which made estimating the actual location and number of victims difficult. She then started to use statistics to help understand the scope and scale of the problem and to help target intervention efforts. As part of her work at the Walk Free Foundation, she co-authored the Global Slavery Index, which measures human trafficking in countries around the globe.

  • 2015: Mehdi Heravi, SIS/PhD '67
  • 2014: Chad Bissonnette, SIS/BA '05
  • 2013: Lisa Martilotta, SIS/MA '03
  • 2012: John Prendergast, SIS/MA 90
  • 2011: Ambassador Clyde Taylor, SIS/MIS '61
  • 2010: Fruzsina Harsanyi, SIS/BA '64, SIS/MA '67, SPA/PhD '72
  • 2009: Esther Benjamin, SIS/MA '92
  • 2008: Alan H. Fleischmann, SIS/BA/BS '87
  • 2007: Sherry Mueller, SIS/BA '65

Class of 1967 Prize

Established in 2009 by members of the SIS undergraduate class of 1967, the Class of 1967 Prize is awarded in memory of deceased classmates. The prize, awarded annually, honors an SIS international undergraduate student who exemplifies the ideals of the school.

To contribute to the fund, give online or make checks out to “American University” with “Class of 1967” in the memo section and mail in.

Current Class of 1967 Prize Recipient

Yangqiansu "Chelsey" Cao, SIS/BA '18

Chelsey is a senior international student from China who focuses her studies on international development and the region of Africa. She is an AU scholar, a member of Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society, has been maintaining excellent academic records and has completed five internships during her time in DC so far. Because Chelsey has benefited so much from her international education experience in SIS, she hopes that international education can be more accessible to students from around the world, especially students with disabilities. The SIS Class of 1967 Prize will help her in carrying out projects on raising awareness for international students with disabilities on campus.

  • Anthony Than Htut Aung, SIS/BA '16
  • Roshni Rajan, SIS/BA '16
  • Iris Wu, SIS/BA '15
  • Fu Hamabe, SIS/BA '14
  • Olga Otrokhova, SIS/BA '13
  • Maria Beihof, SIS/BA '12
  • Livia Mueller, SIS/BA '11
  • Stephanie Ayeh, SIS/BA '10