Jennifer Subban, associate professor of urban affairs at Wright State University, received the 2017 International Education Award for her work with the university’s Leadership Education to Advance Development (LEAD) Program.
Subban, a native of South Africa, was honored on Nov. 16 during Wright State’s International Education Week celebration.
Subban has been involved with a range of community development projects in New Orleans and Dayton. Since 2010, she has worked to build community capacity among youth in Durban, South Africa, where the LEAD Program takes place.
Originally, Wright LEAD was based in Dayton, but Subban adapted the program to benefit South African youth and provide Wright State students with an examination of the processes and practices of community development, including those advocated by international agencies such as the United Nations Development Program, the Imagine Cities Movement and South African agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
Carlos Costa, an assistant professor of political science, commended Subban for her work around the world. “Subban has shown an unwavering commitment to international education,” he said.
Chelsie Spoor, a Wright State student who accompanied Subban to South Africa in 2015, said the professor’s passion for the Wright LEAD Project was unparalleled.
“I learned more about myself and my own abilities during this experience than I could ever teach the learners I worked with during my time there,” Spoor said. “This study abroad program forced me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to grow academically and personally.”
Along with her work with the LEAD Program, Subban is the director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Certificate Program at Wright State. The program includes service-oriented courses, a 300-hour internship, involvement in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association and participation in the Alliance Management Institute. With Subban’s help, students have produced presentations that have won awards at national meetings.
Subban has also served as a board member of the Harambee Coffee Roasters Cooperative, an economic development opportunity for Dayton’s African population, particularly those who came to the Miami Valley as a result of conflicts in their home countries.
December Green, chair of the School of Public and International Affairs, said Subban’s work in Wright LEAD has been exceedingly successful. The service projects that learner’s implement is a key component of their learning and growth. Projects completed to date include building playgrounds, teaching young children how to make musical instruments out of recycled materials, planting community gardens and painting classrooms.
“The program started out very small and has grown enormously over the years, thanks to not only the importance of the work, but also to Subban’s willingness to return to South Africa every summer on her ‘off’ years to maintain the contact needed to support it,” Green said.
Subban is now recruiting students for the 2018 institute. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.