Beth Morrissey recognized for excellence in work with graduate students

February 3, 2017

Elizabeth Morrissey | EDGS Sr. Program CoordinatorBuffett staff member Elizabeth (Beth) Morrissey has been named a 2017 Ver Steeg Award winner by The Graduate School (TGS). Morrissey is the senior program coordinator for Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS) at the Buffett Institute, where she helps administer and support the graduate students of the Arryman Program.

Named for Clarence Ver Steeg, former dean of TGS, this award recognizes one outstanding non-faculty staff person each year for excellence in work with students in The Graduate School. 

Non-faculty staff play an important role in the academic and personal well-being of graduate students, and Morrissey is no exception. She serves as the main support for the 14 scholars of the Arryman Program. Her nomination for the Ver Steeg Award was a joint effort by the Arryman students.

“Beth sets a great example of professionalism, service, and dedication for us,” says Sabina Puspita, Arryman Scholar in political science. “It is great news for us all to hear that The Graduate School recognizes her outstanding work."

Funded by the Indonesian Scholarship and Research Support Foundation in Jakarta and administered by EDGS at Northwestern, the Arryman Program trains emerging Indonesian scholars in the social sciences. The program seeks to cultivate a new generation of first-rate scholars for Indonesia by fully funding their PhD studies at Northwestern for up to six years. Upon completion of their PhDs, Arryman scholars will return to Indonesia to teach at a new university for social sciences and public policy.

Morrissey is responsible for the success of the Arryman Program, which provides intensive support for what might otherwise be a very daunting experience for new international graduate students. In addition to the academic training Northwestern provides, Morrissey works with her students to make sure the transition from Indonesia to Evanston is as smooth as possible.

2016 Arryman Fellows

“As a new arrival who had no previous experience in American academic life, unnecessary anxiety and ignorance were the last thing I needed,” says Aulia Nastiti (pictured above, center with the 2016 Arryman Fellows), Arryman Fellow in political science. “I am so grateful that Beth is always there for us with helpful resources and reliable support to make sure we are settling in well and enjoying our graduate life to its best!” 

Besides sorting out all of the visa, insurance, and paperwork issues before a new cohort of Arryman students arrives each summer, Morrissey works with each student to help them find a place to live, teaching them about different renting and housing options, and how to navigate the local neighborhoods. On their first day in the US, she takes them to the bank to open up checking accounts, helps them set up their phone plans, and even takes them shopping for essentials. During the summer, she and EDGS Director Jeffrey Winters (political science) take them on group trips to Chicago area cultural activities, like concerts at Ravinia and Millennium Park. 

"I tried to imagine how would I fare in Evanston without Beth's constant help; it was a mind-torturing experience!” says Sindhunata Hargyono, Arryman Scholar in anthropology.

"Beth is the central hub of the success of the Arryman Program,” according to Wara Urwasi, Arryman Scholar in sociology. “She shows not only a great professionalism, but also a high tolerance and sensitivity in working with international students. Beth is very engaged and dedicated in supporting us both in our academic life and personal development. Whenever we need her assistance, she is always willing to help.”

Morrissey formally accepted the award at the TGS Awards & Recognition ceremony on March 28. Learn more about the Arryman Program and the Arryman students on the EDGS website.

Asia, For Graduate Students