- W. George Pinnell Award for Outstanding Service (2023)
Throughout his 16 years teaching Spanish language and humanities courses at Indiana University Kokomo, J.R. Pico has made a monumental impact both on and off campus. His selfless dedication to the promotion of diversity and international goodwill has distinguished him as a gifted educator and servant-leader. He believes service is a vital aspect of professional development, viewing it as both an investment in his career and as a tool to cultivate an atmosphere of altruism and care.
Deeply committed to both service and academia, Pico has significantly enhanced the learning experience for generations of IU Kokomo students. He successfully advocated for IU Kokomo’s admission into the highly regarded Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Spanish Honor Society and established the Omega Upsilon chapter on the campus in 2013. Pico was also an essential part of the establishment of the Latinos Unidos Hispanic Center on the Kokomo campus in 2019 where he served as inaugural director. Highlighting the intersection of service and learning, Pico encourages his students to engage in service as a strategy to practice their Spanish language skills through immersive activities, such as volunteering as an interpreter and travelling internationally. He has led multiple international service and learning trips with IUK students and alumni. For community members and students who are unable to travel, Pico helps organize events, including Latino Families Night and Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta, to bring Latin America to IU Kokomo.
Beyond IU Kokomo’s campus, Pico, a Colombia native, serves as a vital member of the Kokomo community by offering Spanish translation and interpretation services to several local organizations He also routinely volunteers to translate English documents into Spanish for low-income families. Dedicated to promoting altruism through education, Pico has made significant, lasting contributions to the IU Kokomo campus and beyond.