ATLANTA – Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, associate professor of science in Mercer University's Penfield College, was recently named to the board of the Georgia Chapter of the Fulbright Association.
"I am delighted that Dr. Vokhiwa has been recognized by the Fulbright Association in this way and that he will, through his continuing involvement, assist us in identifying new opportunities for Mercer students and faculty to engage in furthering the mission of this organization that has transformed the lives of so many," said Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of Penfield College.
Dr. Vokhiwa served as principal investigator for an $84,220 Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad grant awarded to Mercer by the U.S. Department of Education in 2012. He led a team of 10 teachers and two administrators from Metro Atlanta on a four-week trip to his home country of Malawi to collect data for a research project, titled "The Interaction of Environment and Culture in Malawi."
He has also led three Mercer On Mission trips to Malawi – in 2010, 2011 and 2013 – where students worked at two orphanages and watershed sites to address water quality and environmental sustainability initiatives alongside community leaders.
Dr. Vokhiwa spoke at the launch of the Health Core Track of the Georgia Chapter of the Fulbright Association, held March 21 at the University of Georgia, where he participated on a panel of global health experts. He shared data and explored a viable path toward the organization working to positively impact water sanitation in Malawi.
Harriet Fulbright, the widow of U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, also spoke at the meeting, sharing thoughts on her late husband's vision for the Fulbright Association.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve this extraordinary organization that promotes international educational exchange for Americans and other foreign nationals," said Dr. Vokhiwa. "Through my service to the Georgia Chapter of the Fulbright Association, I hope to bring new opportunities to Mercer faculty and students to partner with a number of Fulbright programs."
After completing a three-year study in agriculture at the University of Malawi and earning bachelor's and master's degrees in animal science from Colorado State University, Dr. Vokhiwa worked as a livestock officer for the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Malawi from 1975-1992. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from Colorado State and was elevated to deputy director of environmental affairs in the Ministry of Research and Environmental Affairs.
He furthered his career as regional director and representative for the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) from 2000-2001, where he managed and implemented the organization's strategic conservation program for Southern Africa.
Dr. Vokhiwa would later join the faculty of Kennesaw State University as assistant professor of biology, where he taught from 2003-2007, before joining the Mercer faculty.
His teaching and research interests include sustainable watershed management, ecological monitoring, ecosystem approach, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives.
"I am hopeful that perhaps Dr. Vokhiwa's previous work may be furthered in 2016 via a Fulbright Alumni Service Corps opportunity. It would continue to focus on water and aim to make an impact on the nexus between health, sanitation, water and girls' educational opportunities in Malawi," said Kim D. Eger, who serves on the Fulbright Association national board and Georgia Chapter board. "The Fulbright Association is also looking forward to collaborating on its sustainability focus area with Mercer for the upcoming Fulbright Annual Conference to be held for the first time in Atlanta this November."
The Fulbright Association, established in 1977, supports international educational and cultural exchange, in addition to the ideal most associated with its namesake Sen. Fulbright, which is mutual understanding among the peoples of the world.
The Georgia Chapter was founded in the early 1990s and organizes six major annual events for visiting scholars, students and alumni. For 2015, the chapter's board has adopted two of the national board's tracks – global health and international education – to focus its work. This year's national Fulbright conference, Nov. 15-19, will be hosted by the Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina chapters in Atlanta.
About Penfield College of Mercer University
Penfield College of Mercer University, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional learners and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program transitions students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, school counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, public safety leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology and communication. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Newnan and Eastman, and online. To learn more, visit penfield.mercer.edu.