Today@Sam Article

Faculty Member Named International Professor of the Year

Dec. 12, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Jones_59_Yawn_Students_Web[76]The World Affairs Council of Greater Houston has named Mike Yawn, Sam Houston State University faculty member and director of the Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP), the International Professor of the Year.

For the past twelve years, Yawn has worked with the WAC of Greater Houston, taking students to events, bringing WAC speakers to the SHSU campus and providing the occasional introduction to international speakers. 

WAC Director of Programs and Director of the Global Affairs & U.S. Foreign Policy Institute, Ronan O’Malley, sees Yawn as one of the council’s most effective, committed and passionate professors.

“Of all of the college students who attend our events, Mike Yawn’s students from Sam Houston State University are always the best prepared, most engaged and professional students in attendance – they always ask informed and thought-provoking questions,” O’Malley said. “The council is truly fortunate to have Dr. Yawn so earnestly involved with the council; and we are delighted to have his bright and poised LEAP students take part in our events.”

Yawn estimates that he has taken students to approximately 150 WAC events over the years, where the students have seen leading public figures, such as: former CIA Director Robert Gates; Columbian President Alvaro Uribe; former Secretary of States James Baker and Madeleine Albright; former Defense Secretary Mike Esper; former CIA Director John Brennan; former Ghanan President John Mahama; and two former Presidents of Mexico: Felipe Calderon and Vicente Fox. 

“LEAP doesn’t have the budget to bring those speakers to SHSU regularly, but we can take the students to the speakers, thanks to the World Affairs Council. Our success, I hope, is a reflection of our emphasis on making meaningful and long-term relationships with other civic-minded organizations,” Yawn mentioned, reiterating one of the LEAP Center’s missions; to enrich students' education through various academic opportunities.

Senior Jessica Cuevas, current LEAP ambassador president, has known Yawn since she was a freshman and believes he has been a valuable mentor.   

“Professor Yawn is not the typical professor—he pushes his students to grow in every aspect: personal, professional and socio-culturally. There are things I am doing now that I never thought I'd be able to do, and that is thanks to his advice and support. He positively impacts the lives of every student he meets by going that extra mile and putting in the effort to expose us to interesting educational experiences. If anyone deserves this award, it's him."

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