Dr. Kristina Fields, professor of civil engineering, is one of two recipients recognized with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville 2019 Excellence in Advising International Students Award. This award is presented annually to recognize faculty and staff who have demonstrated passion for and left impacts on incorporating international studies into education for both foreign and domestic students.
“[The award] definitely means a lot to me because this is a big campus, and there are a lot of amazing faculty,” Fields said. “When I was at the international night, it was humbling as well because there are a lot of remarkable international faculty on our campus.”
Before starting at UW-Platteville, Fields worked as a civil engineer, assisting with airport design for Gannett Fleming. Since 2007, Fields has been teaching and advising students in the civil engineering department at UW-Platteville. One of the best parts of advising, Fields said, is that she gets to see the growth of her students through their time at the university.
“I love that part of my job [advising] because you get the same students year after year, and you get to learn what they are joining on campus, what jobs or internships they get for the summer, or if they are studying abroad. You also get to see their growth over time, and I really enjoy that part of my job,” Fields said.
Fields has been leading a short-term study abroad through the Netherlands to focus on the cycling infrastructure. The program provides students with the opportunity to develop their cycling design skills to create safe and effective infrastructure. The students partner with the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences faculty and students, and together, they work in teams to complete service-learning projects.
Growing up, Fields said she was always riding her bike, and she soon found out that there was an entire subsection of civil engineering that focused on the safety of cycling. Fields focused her Ph.D. work on campus communities that are popular for cycling, including Madison, Wisconsin, and she jumped at the opportunity to partner with the group in the Netherlands to study cycling.
“To me, the real significance of my short-term study abroad course is the importance of seeing our students understand the meaning of other countries’ designs. I think something that campus, and the whole country, should talk more about is the value of diversity. People seem to be able to skim the surface of it, but we should be trying to dig deeper,” Fields said.
Fields will be honored at the all-campus convocation in late August.