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Wu ’18 Receives Mestenhauser Student Award

Fiona Wu
Sarah Freske ’18, Starbuck
Publication date: 
March 2, 2018
  • This award honors students who internationalize the curriculum and campus.
  • Wu has advocated for international students and encouraged them to get involved on campus.
  • They hope to someday help women and LGBTQIA2S+ people in countries struggling with environmental issues.

This spring Fiona Wu '18, Shanghai, China, received the Josef Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization. This award gives recognition to outstanding students working to internationalize the curriculum and campus. Recipients exhibit a commitment to international education and understanding at the University of Minnesota and are active in programs and activities that contribute to global competence.

Through their leadership and involvement in Morris Campus Student Association (MCSA), the Office of Residential Life (ORL), and Gender/Sexuality Advocates, Wu has shown consistent commitment to Morris. Wu has been able to advocate for international students while encouraging those students to get involved on campus.

"I want to make the campus a better and more welcoming place for international students to live, study, and be heard," says Wu. "I've enjoyed devoting my time at Morris to bringing international students and students of underrepresented groups together, working with them, and growing up with them."

Wu has focused academic efforts towards these same endeavors, completing their environmental studies senior seminar on the topic of intersectionality of gender and environmental issues in rural China. In part, this research fulfilled their personal interests and contributed to their future goal of working for an international organizations such as the United Nations. Wu also was able to introduce the culture and issues of rural China to domestic students in Morris—one of many ways Wu has fostered intercultural competence.

"These experiences really trained me to be a global citizen—someone who can step out of their comfort zone to take on various challenges," Wu says. "I believe what I am doing now will lay a solid foundation for the work I want to do in the future."

Wu plans to earn a graduate degree for public policy and affairs with an emphasis on environmental issues and international organization. Building on this foundation, they hope to eventually work for the United Nations, helping women and LGBTQIA2S+ people in countries struggling with environmental issues.

The Mestenhauser Student Award recognizes the results of Wu's work, and more importantly, Wu says, encourages Wu and other students who are committed to this issue to continue working towards campus internationalization.

About the Mestenhauser Student Award

The Josef Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization recognizes outstanding student contributions to international education. This award acknowledges important work being done by students at the University of Minnesota to internationalize the curriculum and campus. The Mestenhauser Student Award honors Dr. Josef Mestenhauser, Distinguished International Emeritus Professor, recognizing his long career of advocacy for and commitment to students. Learn more at

Photo by Chris Cooper, University Relations 

Video highlighting Fiona's work