Peck, Herrera named recipients of 2017 Kopp International Achievement Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kyle L. Peck, professor of education in the College of Education and research fellow, co-director for the Center for Online Innovation in Learning; and Andy Herrera, director of educational equity and diversity programs at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College; are recipients of the 2017 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award.

Established in 1995, the award recognizes faculty and staff members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named for the late deputy vice president for international programs.

Kyle L. Peck

In his 29 years at Penn State, Peck is known as a visionary educator who has excelled as an educator and academic administrator, said a nominator. Peck has brought a message of encouraging education reform to 16 countries and mentored more than 88 international students.

Peck’s first grant-funded international trip — bringing education-related technology to Sudan in 1989 — hit a snag when military security forces confiscated his Mac SE computer in the airport, cracked it open, and returned it with the hard drive ruined five days later.  Undeterred, Peck made the best of the situation and recreated his presentation using diskettes, and delivered his presentations to students and his hosts.

He’s been improvising and improving ever since.

“Peck is known as a warm, inspiring professor who challenges students to consider new possibilities for the future of education,” said a nominator.

He has used his international experience to bring the best of ideas to Penn State and the best of Penn State abroad.

In particular, his research interests in innovative applications of technology and instructional design have had global implications on education. His contributions to learning are world-renowned and he is regularly has been asked to speak on his research in more than a dozen countries.

“Closer to home, Peck has always proven to be a dedicated and skilled teacher and adviser to both domestic and international students,” said a nominator. “Penn State’s international students, both within and outside the College of Education, have learned that he is a valuable friend and colleague.”

Andy Herrera

Herrera is seemingly in perpetual motion, improving equity and diversity at every turn.

He’s adviser to the Multi-Cultural Council, an umbrella organization that oversees 14 other cultural organizations tasked with promoting cultures. At the International Student Organization, where he is an adviser, he helped grow the organization from 10 to 80 members. He also plays a role in groups that represent Asian, Latin-American and Muslim students.

The Global Engagement and Leadership Experience program, which has helped more than 500 international students since it began at University Park in 2010, was expanded to Penn State’s Commonwealth campuses with Herrera’s assistance.

“Herrera assumed a leadership role and responsibility for coordinating the program for western commonwealth campuses,” said a nominator. “He single-handedly managed the logistics and facilitation of this event despite the many challenges of coordinating a program among geographically dispersed locations while creating a blueprint for other programs and campuses to emulate. His devotion to the success of the project was instrumental in expanding the impact of international engagement.”

Herrera helped implement Behrend’s ESL’s Alliance of Mentors, a program that helps international students improve their English language skills by connecting them with students.

A musical series called the “Rhythms of Life Series,” which he coordinates, brings cultural performances to campus featuring global music, dance and storytelling.

“I am as captivated and passionate as ever in my desire to support young people in pursuit of their college education, one of the most valuable possessions anyone can have,” said Herrera. “I remain strongly committed to the students served by our unit, which includes international students.”