University of Southern Indiana

Officially an outstanding student

By Maria Scheller, Outreach and Engagement Marketing Assistant

Shintaro Sato with Emilija Zlatkovska and Heidi Gregori-GahanShintaro Sato has excelled not only as a student, but also in the community. 

Sato, University of Southern Indiana international student and recipient of the Outstanding Student Award, chose USI because he believed it would give him the experience needed to achieve his dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. He wasn’t wrong!

“When I came to USI, I was worried about being able to communicate with the students and faculty as I did not have much experience speaking English,” Sato said.

Despite his doubts, the Intensive English Program (IEP) helped him improve greatly and he is now satisfied with his ability to speak English.

Founded in 2013, IEP has helped over 200 students from around the world improve their English and prepared them for further academic study at USI. Their goal is to provide students the essential resources to become proficient and successful.

“Since coming to IEP, I have been able to study all things about English: writing, reading skills, listening and speaking,” said Sato. ”IEP has opportunities such as field trips, pronunciation workshops and conversation club. All these activities help improve my English ability. It is intensive with a lot of work, but it is a good memory for me.”

Their Outstanding Student Award and Scholarship, established in 2015, recognizes the hard work and dedication of IEP students for their earnestness to learn, involvement in a new language and culture, collaboration among peers and having a positive attitude toward learning.

“These students are recommended by their teachers,” said Dr. Emilija Zlatkovska, director of IEP. Winning the award is determined by merit and involvement. Recipients are not only excellent students, but also show great involvement in student organizations and cultural exposure.

Sato’s involvement with IEP and being an instructor at Southern Indiana Japanese School (SIJS) led him to become the 2018 recipient of the IEP Outstanding Student Award, as well as ensure his success for the future.

SIJS ensures the school-age children of regional Japanese employees, are kept knowledgeable and will have a smooth transition into Japanese schools as they return home. While students attend their area schools throughout the week, Shintaro Sato attends classes at USI and they come together on Saturdays for the Japanese School.

“The most rewarding part about being an SIJS instructor is seeing the children’s smile while I am teaching,” Sato said.

His teaching experiences at SIJS have increased his motivation to become a teacher, even greater than when he initially enrolled in USI.

“Schools in Japan, who recently began offering English as a subject, are in high demand for teachers who are fluent in both Japanese and English,” said Sato.

After he graduates in 2020, Sato plans to be an elementary school teacher and continue to learn more about doctoral courses in Japan.

Contact Erin McCracken Merris


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