Katherine Punteney, program chair and associate professor in the MA in International Education Management (MAIEM) program at the Middlebury Institute, was honored with the Service in International Education Award at the recent NAFSA Region 12 Conference. NAFSA is an association of international educators and the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. Region 12 consists of member professionals in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. The award recognized Katherine’s work in founding the MAIEM degree program and her collaboration with NAFSA, including presentations, publications, and volunteer service.
Punteney was nominated for the award by alumna Stephanie Toriumi MAIEM ’13, the current NAFSA Region 12 K-12 Representative. Toriumi says she nominated Punteney “on behalf of all the MAIEM graduates because she has been a mentor to all of us as we try to pursue our passion in the international education field. As one of the first cohort of IEM graduates, it’s been great for me to see the program grow.”
Since graduating from the Middlebury Institute 2013, Toriumi has been working as the International Student Coordinator at Mid-Pacific Institute, a private Preschool-Grade 12 school in Honolulu, Hawaii. She supports roughly 85 international students from more than 10 countries, and credits her success to the combination of her training in the MAIEM program and her cultural background. She also attended Middlebury College, where many of her closest friends came from other countries. These relationships opened her eyes to an entirely different world from her native Hawaii and sparked her interest in living abroad as well as a passion for helping international students in the U.S.
Since its initiation five years ago, under Punteney’s direction, the program has grown from 25 to almost 200 alumni and 99 current students. The International Education Management program at the Middlebury Institute helps shape the growing field of international education through research, symposiums, internships, and more.