USF World News

International Student Association Awarded Across Campus

2016 Celebration of Leadership Awards
Members of the ISA executive board receive many accolades during the 2016 Celebration of Leadership Awards.

Ask around on campus and one will notice that intercultural programming, international service and study abroad experience are all part of the core USF student experience. One student organization in particular is engaging in international opportunities and setting the tone for the rest of campus.

The International Student Association (ISA) was founded only three years ago, but it already boasts more than 300 members representing countries around the world and from the U.S.

This year was particularly successful for the organization with record attendance at meetings while its popularity among students grew almost exponentially. ISA was present at many Bull Market events, while also collaborating with other student organizations. Some events included: Salsaween (a collaboration with the Latin American Student Association), Diwali (a collaboration with the Students of India Association), and Journey to the East (a collaboration with multiple Asian student organizations). 

ISA also held or assisted with a number of events to develop leadership potential and growth among members. During the spring semester, ISA members along with GloBull Ambassadors collaborated with staff from the International Services and Education Abroad Offices to present "Going Glo-Bull: Diversifying Our Presence Overseas through Study Abroad" at the Intercultural Student Leadership Conference. The students facilitated powerful dialogue surrounding underrepresented populations studying abroad, and included both international and domestic perspective to guide the discussion.

Last week all of their hard work and programming efforts have been well awarded. ISA's two biggest events of the year included International Night and the International Ball. A collaboration among 20 student organizations, International Night showcased cultural dances, attire and food. At the 2016 Celebration of Leadership Awards ceremony, International Night won for Best Student Organization Program of the Year.

In addition, ISA was recognized as the 2016 Outstanding Student Organization and Sonie-Lynn Francois was presented the 2016 Outstanding Multicultural Community Student Leader Award. Francois, serves as the Director of External Relations on the ISA executive board.

Furthermore, ISA also received a Certificate of Excellence from the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The Certificate of Excellence is presented to each multicultural community (MCC) organization that earns 3,000 points or more, truly demonstrating their commitment to the multicultural community. Points are accumulated by attending MCC meetings, hosting programs, and collaborating with other organizations within the community.


The Golden Bull Award is one of USF's highest honors given annually to deserving undergraduate and graduate students who encompass the spirit of USF and have demonstrated its values. Recipients must exemplify exceptional leadership and service to the University and the community. This year, out of more than 200 quality applicants there were 20 recipients, with the majority being either international students or who have included an international experience into their education by studying abroad, completing international research or serving as an orientation team leader during GloBull Beginnings on campus.

Of the Golden Bull Awardees is Di Li, president of the International Student Association. Li has been an active part of the USF community and has served as a research assistant for IDEAL (a National Science Foundation grant), an intern for GE Healthcare, a Resident Assistant for the Honors Living Learning Community, an Orientation Team Leader, a Glo-bull Beginnings Week Coordinator and a USF Ambassador.

Li is from China and has shared her love of the engineering profession with other female students encouraging them to never give up on their dreams of becoming an engineer. In her Golden Bull application she stated, "With the knowledge and experience I gained at USF, I hope to have a career with a global healthcare company and become an active alumna to help future Bulls and advance the University of South Florida."

She also credits her experience with ISA to helping enhance her future, "Being the president for ISA the past year has not only shaped me into a better leader, but it also brought me a family of authentic and motivated individuals."


While ISA is leading the way for students to become global citizens, other student organizations have also made significant contributions across campus, including the Latin American Student Association won Outstanding Multicultural Community Student Organization of the Year. 

"Across the board, awards were given to students and organizations whose reach extended to the international level," said Kristen Zernick, advisor for ISA (photo, left with Di Li). "I think that speaks volumes about the work we're all doing to prepare our students to become global citizens." 

Kristen Zernick and Di Li

Zernick was this year's recipient of the Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award presented by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Speaking about her recognition, ISA members said, "Besides investing countless hours without compensation for ISA, Kristen also carries out servant leadership and authentic leadership. She is always brainstorming how to connect students from different parts of the world together as USF Bulls."

For more information on ISA membership, collaboration or events, visit their Facebook page.