UI student dedicates time to counsel and advocate for international student population

University of Iowa student, Yu Chak “Sunny” Ho has devoted his time to supporting international student success on campus. In late November, Ho was recognized as the UI’s first-ever Global Student Award recipient.

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UI student dedicates time to counsel and advocate for international student population

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Mitchell Griffin, News Reporter

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The University of Iowa honored Yu Chak “Sunny” Ho with the first-ever Global Student Award in November. Ho has dedicated his education at the UI toward supporting the international student population.

Ho began his time at the UI in 2015, while studying cognitive psychology for his Ph.D. Ho recently received the award during International Education Week in November.

“I’ve always been wishing to do more for the international student population because that’s my passion. It’s in line with my career goal to be a social justice advocate in the mental health field,” Ho said.

Ho said that the UI gave him a great foundation and many opportunities to be a student advocate. Even before coming to the UI, Ho was involved in advocacy and counseling at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and other areas of the country.

Ho said he is very cognizant and appreciative of the role his mentors have played for him in his journey.

“Along the way, there are a lot of different mentors, advisors, and leaders in the Asian-American community and the international community that I feel like have really drawn me to learn a lot and put myself out there,” Ho said.

Jennifer Teitle, UI graduate student adviser, is one of many mentors that Ho alluded to as a guiding figure in his journey, and instrumental in setting up his current internship.

“From the moment I met him, we hit it off,” Teitle said about Ho.

Teitle was enthusiastic in her accounts of Ho’s work and persistence on many projects that included pre-arrival webinars for international students and helping to develop and facilitate the graduate college’s international programs, and sees a great future for him.

“He has great intuitiveness and doesn’t give up on people,” Teitle said. “Sunny can go wherever he wants  to — he’ll make it happen.”

The UI awarded Ho with the Global Student Award to honor the excellence of student investment into international education on campus and studying abroad. The award was born out of motivation from students, UI Student Government, and faculty in the Division of Student Life to bring more attention to the leadership and accomplishments of students.

“We were really hoping to have an opportunity to highlight international student achievement on campus and also with students who are studying abroad,” said Shuhui Lin, coordinator for international student support and engagement.

Related: UI Chinese students face difficulties as international tensions increase 

From time to time, social media posts may be made about these students, Lin said, but the campus doesn’t get to see a lot of the great work they are doing.

“I think sometimes with application activism, sometimes you just need to put yourself out there and share your story,” Ho said. “I love the part of hearing a lot of narratives from a lot of people and at the same time, sharing my story with other people — that’s the beauty of doing counseling and advocacy work.”

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