Where are they now? Alumni Awards edition

CFAES International Alumni Awards

The International Alumni Award is presented to outstanding international agriculture alumni representing, supporting, and promoting the college and The Ohio State University around the globe. We have been honoring individuals with this award since 1989, and in that time we have honored 55 individuals. Of those honored over the years, 91% are male, and 8% are female. This compares to the current alumni population that includes 44,554 individuals, with 67% male and 33% female. Honorees of this award represent each of the college's academic units, with 31% coming from the Department of Animal Sciences, 27% coming from the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, and 14% coming from the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. We checked in with them to see what they have accomplished since earning their award and what it meant to them. Hear from a few of our honorees below. 

Mauricio Vaz Lobo Bittencourt, ’04 PhD Agricultural Economics

CFAES International Alumni Award, 2020

Mauricio BittencourtQ: What did receiving the International Alumni Award mean to you? 

A: Receiving this award brought me a sense of recognition for all the dedication I gave to my academic career, always trying to narrow even more of my bonds to OSU and helping to promote this fantastic university everywhere I go.

Q: What is your favorite CFAES memory? 

A: The lifetime friendships I still have with so many people I know since those years as a PhD student and the learning environment we had back then.

Q: What was your CFAES Alumni Award experience like? 

A: When I attended the ceremony, I felt I was returning to my second home. Definitely it was an emotional and unforgettable experience to meet so many brilliant faculty and be recognized and honored by them.

Seung Il Na, ’93 PhD Agricultural Education 

International Alumni Award, 2009

Q: What has been your greatest achievement or milestone since receiving your International Alumni Award? 

A: I was inaugurated on March 14, 2013, as vice minister of education of the Republic of Korea and worked until Aug. 26, 2014. At that time, the Ministry of Education promoted two-axis policies, one was the pursuit of happiness education for all, and the other was the policy to realize a competency-based society. In particular, I, as a professor in vocational education and workforce development of Seoul National University, led the policy of establishing both National Competency Standards (NCS) and National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in order to transition from the academic backgrounds and specs-oriented society prevalent in Korea to the competency-based society. Since returning to university, I have been monitoring and conducting follow-up research on the policies that are continually being promoted.

Q: What is your favorite CFAES memory? 

A: As I recall now, my whole life there as a PhD student was a good memory. I am deeply grateful to Professor R.K. Barrick for his guidance, as well as Professor N.L. McCaslin, who highly recommended me as an award nominee. My favorite memory was the grand graduation ceremony held at Ohio Stadium on June 11, 1993, on a sunny day.

Milton Gorocica, ’03 MS Animal, Dairy and Poultry Science, ’06 PhD Animal, Dairy, and Poultry Science

CFAES International Alumni Award, 2016

Milton GorocicaQ: What has been your greatest achievement or milestone since receiving your award? 

A: I have been involved in launching several of our key products for beef and dairy cattle in new markets from four different continents, representing significant additional revenue for the company.

Q: What is your favorite CFAES memory? 

A: The relationship with my advisor and faculty members of the Animal Sciences Department. We are still in touch and became friends for life. My third boy is named after Dr. Steve Loerch, my MS and PhD adviser, to signify how special his impact has been in our lives.

Q: What has your CFAES alumni experience meant to you? 

A: Our time at OSU remains a key highlight of my life. Friends and opportunities multiplied during and after our time there. The network I’ve been able to develop with alumni, faculty, and staff has really helped to capture new business and collaboration opportunities that would not be there had I not been part of this family.

Shih-Torng Ding, ’96 PhD Poultry Science

CFAES International Alumni Award, 2010

Shih-Torng DingQ: What has been your greatest achievement since receiving your alumni award? 

A: I received an Outstanding Research Award from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan. I became the deputy secretary for the Board of Science and Technology of the Taiwan central government for five years. I am now the vice president for academic affairs at National Taiwan University.

Q: What is your favorite CFAES memory? 

A: Working at OARDC.

Augustine Mokwunye, ’66 BS Agronomy, ’68 MS Agronomy

CFAES International Alumni Award, 1998

Q: Describe what receiving the International Alumni Award meant to you. 

A: I had the opportunity to bring my entire family to Columbus. I was single while I was at OSU. I left OSU to attend the University of Illinois, where I met my wife, Elaine. By the time of my award, we had grown to become a family of six with three boys and one girl. It was exciting to bring the full family to OSU to see where their “daddy” had his education.

Q: What has been your greatest achievement since receiving your award? 

A: I was employed by the United Nations University as the director of the Institute for Natural Resources in Africa based in Accra, Ghana, when I received the award. Since then I became a member of the board of directors of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), one of the centers managed by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). I rose to become chairman of the board and eventually, chairman of the Committee of Board Chairs of the CGIAR.

To see the complete list of International Alumni Award winners, click here.