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UW Graduate Student Honored for Community Engagement

April 30, 2018
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Dilnoza Khasilova

A University of Wyoming Ph.D. student who organized a program that provides free foreign language instruction to the community has received UW’s inaugural Marvin Millgate Student Engagement Award.

Dilnoza Khasilova, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in literacy after earning a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from UW’s College of Education, was given the honor that goes to a student engaged in service learning or other service opportunities that have made a tangible difference in the community.

“Dilnoza’s leadership of the World Language and Culture Program (WLCP) has made remarkable contributions toward global sensitivity and understanding within the UW community,” says Amy Roberts, associate professor in the College of Education, who nominated the student. “Under her leadership, the program has become a unique co-curricular offering that encourages and celebrates domestic and international students, faculty, staff and the Laramie community to engage with each other through the study of languages and cultures characterized by mutual respect, responsibility, action and commitment.”

The idea for WLCP came when Khasilova, who is from Uzbekistan, was pursuing her master’s degree in 2012.

“I was always passionate about foreign languages and cultures, and interested in research about cross cultures and foreign language acquisition,” she says. “Knowing English and other languages helped me tremendously be globally minded, aware of other cultures, develop intercultural communication skills and travel around the world.”

With this in mind, she suggested the idea to her adviser, Roberts, of setting up a volunteer and service learning language program at UW. It was launched in fall 2014 and offered instruction in three languages. Today, more than 15 languages are offered every semester, depending on the availability of the volunteer instructors.

“The beauty of WLCP is that it offers classes that Department of Modern and Classical Languages no longer offers,” says fellow student Jennet Nedirmammedova. “This adds the multifaceted dimension into having such a great program on campus that is available for students as well as for community members. Dilnoza has done a great job by implementing this program and giving such value to this community that she impacts in the best possible manner.”

Additionally, Khasilova volunteers at Laramie County Community College, teaching students who are learning English; and she directs the Central Asian Cultural Week as a member of the UW Central Asian Student Association.

The Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards were established by President Laurie Nichols and Provost Kate Miller, in cooperation with UW’s Engagement Task Force, to recognize collaborative teaching and research that extend beyond the UW campus. The selected honorees each receive $1,000, which may be used to fund additional engagement work by the recipients.

Susan Dewey, associate professor in the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice, received the Marvin Millgate Engaged Faculty Award; the Engaged Staff Award went to Alec Muthig, information technology trainer; and the Excellence in Community Partnership Award was won by the Wyoming Conservation Exchange, a partnership among UW Extension faculty members and the Environmental Defense Fund, Sublette County Conservation District, the Wyoming Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

“I am excited that UW has launched its efforts in engagement and outreach by acknowledging the outstanding work of three of our own,” says Jean Garrison, who chairs the Engagement Task Force. “The faculty, staff and student recipients as well as the community partnership award for the first Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards are exemplary representatives for the important and innovative work being done across the state of Wyoming by UW and our partners.”

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