Wang honored with Kopp International Achievement Award for undergraduates

April 14, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Yuanheng (Arthur) Wang, a junior majoring in English at Penn State’s Behrend campus, has been awarded the 2016 LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award for undergraduate students.

The award recognizes undergraduate students who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named in honor of the late deputy vice president for international programs.

Wang, a teaching assistant who has spent countless hours bridging the divide between domestic and international students, said he structures his methods on what the Chicana theorist Gloria Anzaldua calls “borderland space,” which, Anzaldua says, is physically present when cultures edge each other and intimacy begin to chip away at barriers.

“Colleges are also borderlands, where different races, genders, classes, sexualities, nationalities, and cultural backgrounds must find a way to communicate with one another,” said Wang, who is dedicated to using borderland spaces to advance the international mission of the University.

Making international students feel welcome is so important to Wang that he’s willing to commit his time and money to do so. Last summer, he visited cities such as Shanghai and Chengdu in China to meet with Behrend’s incoming students and their parents. The work was voluntary and he received no compensation.

“Engaging these students helped me understand their backgrounds, school experiences and perspectives on studying abroad,” said Wang.

Wang says it’s all part of his goal to “connect every Penn State citizen together as a global community where diversity is gloriously celebrated.”

"He makes Penn State like a home to us, supporting us with a sense of family when many of our family members are on the other side of the globe," said one international student of Wang's efforts

“I regard Arthur as an outstanding leader, an invaluable mentor and an inspiring peer,” said the student.

Wang’s duties as a teaching assistant include teaching lessons on grammar and rhetorical issues, holding weekly office hours for more than 100 students, providing presentations to help faculty and staff understand the needs of international students, and facilitating three workshops in China, his native country, to help students learn about the Behrend campus.

Additionally, Wang worked on behalf of the International Student Organization and assisted one of his former high school teachers in publishing a book about Chinese literature and education. He’s listed as a secondary author and co-editor. Boasting a 3.72 GPA, Wang is a member of the Schreyer Honors College.

Last Updated April 20, 2016