Photo of Kimie Shiozawa

Junior Kimie Shiozawa was presented with the Mestenhauser award this spring for her contributions to international education at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Shiozawa is actively involved in promoting inclusivity and building community for students from around the world. She continues to work hard towards promoting excellence in campus internationalization.

Originally from Japan, Shiozawa came to UMN Crookston to study English as a second language (ESL).  It was difficult for her to get used to her new home and way of life since the language was completely different to her mother tongue. 

After her first semester taking only ESL classes, Shiozawa decided to challenge herself, and step outside of her comfort zone by signing up for a Forestry class. When she first signed up, she did not know much about natural resources, but as the class progressed, she found herself completely engrossed.

Photo of Kimie Shiozawa

Nevertheless, her love for natural resources was at times halted because of the language barrier, “I understood 50 percent of the classes, but it got easier with time, and it really helped to have recorded lectures that I could re-watch on my own time” mentioned Shiozawa.

At first, when she lived in Tokyo, she did not truly realize her passion for flora and fauna, but she found and honed her love for it in Crookston. Moreover, Associate Professor in the natural resources and agriculture department, Phil Baird, was always willing to lend Shiozawa a helping hand and helped her stay in the major she loved and overcome the language barrier. 

Theresa Helgeson, a lab coordinator in Natural Resources, worked closely with Shiozawa and was constantly awe-struck by her dedication and care, “This young woman not only met my expectations, but she exceeded them. Kimie had very little experience, but she excelled at every task given to her. In fact, I had several detail-oriented tasks with the campus vegetable garden and our butterfly garden that I only trusted her to do. Kimie outworked my other student workers each and every day. Without knowing it, Kimie showed her fellow American Students in the small town of Crookston, Minnesota how capable and brave a person has to be to become an international student.”  

Shiozawa found that she thrived when stepping out of her comfort zone and highly encourages other international students to do so as well. In doing so, she found an undiscovered passion in natural resources, and now brings cultures and people together through it. 

To watch Kimie’s award video, click here

Mestenhauser Student Award Background

The Josef Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization recognizes outstanding student contributions to international education. This award acknowledges important work being done by students at the University of Minnesota to internationalize the curriculum and campus. The Mestenhauser Student Award honors Dr. Josef Mestenhauser, Distinguished International Emeritus Professor, recognizing his long career of advocacy for and commitment to students. To learn more, visit

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 40 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online.  These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Story Contact: Shawn Smith