Lori Blanc, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science, has received the university’s 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education is presented annually to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international education.

Blanc serves as a faculty leader and program director for the Biological Sciences’ Hokies Abroad South Pacific Programs. Through this role, she has developed and/or managed 22 education abroad courses, including just one of six Antarctica programs in the entire U.S.

The courses abroad feature Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Antarctica, last for two to four weeks, and focus on conservation biology, service learning, and sustainability. Blanc has worked with 288 students from all seven colleges at Virginia Tech, as well as 79 students from other universities.

“Her ability to develop and deliver content in an international setting makes it possible for students to not just have an international experience, but to also engage in a truly transformative learning environment,” wrote Kevin Arscott, managing director of American Universities International Programs Limited, in a letter of nomination. “We have witnessed many students over the years whose lives have been radically changed by their experience on one of Dr. Blanc’s programs.”

Blanc’s teaching philosophy is centered around three principles: learn by doing, lead by example, and work hard, play hard. She finds ways to connect the curriculum with everyday life, and recognizes the importance of getting to know students as individuals who have different experiences and needs.

Blanc received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, and her doctoral degree  from Virginia Tech.

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