posted by JAMES MPHANDE
The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) will benefit from a Fulbright US Scholar award won by a Malawian academic currently working with Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement.
The awardee, Dr Zipangani Vokhiwa and her colleague, Dr Jacqueline Stephen, from the same college, received the Fulbright US Scholar Program awards to work in Malawi and Azerbaijan, respectively. The awards were given by the US Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
According to a new article from the Den Mercer of April 19, 2022 (https://den.mercer.edu/college-of-professional-advancement-faculty-receive-fulbright-awards-to-azerbaijan-malawi), Dr Vokhiwa, a professor of science, “will use the award to conduct research, teach undergraduate and graduate students, mentor junior faculty and assist in faculty, curriculum and program development at MUST”.
MUST recently launched 13 postgraduate programs at both masters and PhD levels and will thus benefit a lot from Dr Vokhiwa’s award which will also see him assist the university in developing and establishing a Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics (STEM) centre “with a robust STEM Education and Innovation Lab (SEI Lab) that will be used for research by students and faculty”.
The article quotes Dr Vokhiwa as saying that it was an honour for him to be selected for the award and enable him teach, carry out research and help in establishing a STEM centre at MUST.
“After two years of remote learning, now having the opportunity to further the Fulbright Scholar Program’s goals of developing international understanding, open communication and long-term cooperative relationships is an incredible privilege. I am excited and proud to represent Mercer University and its commitment to international research and service by furthering STEM initiatives around the globe with this Fulbright Scholar award,” Dr Vokhiwa told the paper.
A holder of Diploma in Agriculture from University of Malawi, Dr Vokhiwa did both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Animal Science at Colorado State University and worked in several portfolios within Ministry of Agriculture in Malawi until his retirement.
Upon his retirement, Dr Vokhiwa joined Kennesaw State University as a faculty member before moving to Mercer University in 2007.
His research interests are in areas of sustainable watershed management, ecological monitoring, ecosystem approach and STEM initiatives.
In the US, he has served as principal investigator for a Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad grant awarded to Mercer by the US Department of Education in 2012; led a team of 10 teachers and two administrators from Metro Atlanta on a four-week trip to Malawi to collect data for a research project, titled “The Interaction of Environment and Culture in Malawi”; and led students on three Mercer On Mission trips to Malawi in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Dr Vokhiwa currently serves as president of the Environmental Education Alliance (EEA) Board of Directors and previously served as president of the Fulbright Association’s Georgia Chapter in 2017 and 2018. He is also a member of Mercer’s Fulbright Selection Committee, which works with students applying for Fulbright Awards for various projects around the world.
As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr Vokhiwa will share knowledge and foster meaningful connections across communities in the United States and Malawi. Such scholars also engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions.
On return to his base, he is expected to share stories and become an active supporter of international exchange, inviting foreign scholars to campus and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings and help people and nations work together toward common goals.
Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 400,000 dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and find solutions to shared international concerns. These include 61 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 76 MacArthur Fellows and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.
The program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the US Congress to the US Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.
First Posted on must.ac.mw