Globally Engaged Broncos

Read about some of Western Michigan University's globally engaged faculty, students and staff in these feature stories.

Global engagement newsletter for students


WMU cultural anthropologist examines migration and lupus in Ecuador

Touching saltwater marks at the waterline of a cargo ship in Lake Michigan when she was just nine years old planted the question in the mind of Dr. Ann Miles: Where has this ship been?
Read more.



Photo of WMU Professor Dr. Eng

Ancient Nepalese caves attract attention of WMU bioarchaeologist

Evidence of what might be an ancient funerary de-fleshing ritual found in human-made caves in the Upper Mustang region of Nepal has been discovered by Western Michigan University bioarchaeologist Dr. Jacqueline Eng as a member of a research team that is funded in part by the National Geographic Society.


Complexities of global banking and finance unraveled by Pakistani-born business professor

Captivated by the economic culture he encountered in the mid-1970s while studying in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Inayat U. Mangla, a native of Lahore, Pakistan, joined Western Michigan University’s faculty in 1985 and has become an internationally recognized expert on global financial markets.

Photo of WMU Professor Dr. Jim Butterfield

Russian politics is a “moving target” for WMU Fulbright scholar

Post-Cold War Russia has provided Western Michigan University political science professor Dr. Jim Butterfield with an exceptional model for conducting research on transition environments and the role civic initiative plays in defining the public agenda and addressing collective action dilemmas.

Photo of Dr. Todd Barkman
Zoning in on the genetics of the world’s largest flower

Dr. Todd Barkman, a WMU professor of biological sciences, grew up in Pinckney, Mich., a rural area that inspired his interest in plants.  While majoring in botany as an undergraduate at Michigan State University, he had the opportunity to grow orchids for the botany department. "I fell in love with orchids," Barkman said. "I decided I wanted to work with and study orchids for the rest of my life."


Study abroad alumni

Visits to 35 countries complements global studies major

Akasha Creamer-Sutherland, a senior majoring in global and international studies with geographic, economic and Spanish emphasis has traveled to 35 countries and plans to graduate in the summer of 2014. Read more.

Photo of Rachel Lipscomb






Rachel Lipscomb, Peru 2013, Costa Rica 2012 

Rachel Lipscomb, a senior and double major in global and international studies and Spanish, worked hard to enjoy the unique opportunity of participating in not one, but two study abroad programs as part of her degree program through Western Michigan University.



Photo of WMU students with the Dalai LamaStudying with Dalai Lama caps off global studies degree program

Not many people can say after their first overseas trip that they met someone as famous as the Dalai Lama. Kaley Shumake, a 2012 graduate of Western Michigan University’s global and international studies program, met the head monk of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism in a four-week Tibetan mind and body sciences study abroad program in May 2012.


International students

Mingyuan Yang, world's top young bassoonist  

Mingyuan Yang, a 19-year-old from Zhengzhou, China, was named the world’s top young bassoonist at the 2013 International Double Reed Society Young Artist Competition, held at the society’s 44th annual international conference at the University of the Redlands in California.


International alumni

Ambiguity of borders continues to intrigue alumna from Berlin

As a resident of Berlin when the wall came down in 1989, Western Michigan University alumna Dr. Tugba Basaran has witnessed the impact of shifting borders and has dedicated her career to fostering international cooperation and development.


Photo of Dr. Betty Udongo receiving Uganda Medal of HonorWMU alumna receives Uganda’s Medal of Honor

The Honorable Dr. Betty Udongo, a 2009 graduate of Western Michigan University’s science education program, was recognized for her work to increase educational opportunities for children in the Republic of Uganda in March 2012 when she received the Presidential Nalubale (Lake Victoria) Medal of Honor.

Photo of Zaw Thein
Supporting political reform central to degree pursuit for Myanmar Fulbrighter

Dramatic efforts to forge democratic reform in Myanmar inspired Zaw Thein, a graduate student at Western Michigan University, to earn a master’s degree in political science so he may more fully participate in the movement to democratize his homeland.



Photo of Christie Gates with group in MaliRefugee service internship gels career path for ESL administrator

Serving refugees from all over the world as an intern at St. Vincent Catholic Charities Refugee Services in Lansing, Mich., was a key factor in Christie Gates’ decision to prepare for a career in international education. Gates is the assistant director of the Center for English Language and Culture for International Students.