Penfield College Professor Elected President of Fulbright Association Georgia Chapter

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ATLANTA – Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, associate professor of science in Mercer University’s Penfield College, was recently elected president of the Fulbright Association’s Georgia Chapter.

“I am excited to learn that Dr. Vokhiwa will lead the Fulbright Association in Georgia,” said Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of Penfield College. “The opportunities for Mercer students and faculty members to continue to contribute to fulfilling the Fulbright mission are endless, and Dr. Vokhiwa has been an outstanding advocate of Fulbright programs and impact.”

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.

“I am grateful to my fellow board members who have trusted and provided me the opportunity to lead and serve this distinguished association here in Georgia. This appointment would not have happened if Mercer did not actively participate in Fulbright activities over the past years. This is Mercer University’s Fulbright Association presidency, and I am delighted to carry the banner as the Fulbright Program celebrates its 70th year,” said Dr. Vokhiwa.

“I look forward to forge ahead with work of the Georgia Chapter to ensure that more alumni are brought in to volunteer and actively participate in the activities of the chapter. With the support of my fellow board members, I will work tirelessly to encourage more Georgia scholars to apply for the various U.S. student program awards, as well as more faculty to apply for the teaching and research grants, including inviting distinguished scholars to come to U.S. universities and colleges to participate in various teaching, research and other specialists’ grant activities.”

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 later earned 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 from 2000-2001, where he managed and implemented the organization’s strategic conservation program for Southern Africa.

Dr. Vokhiwa later joined 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.

“The Fulbright community here in Georgia has recognized Dr. Vokhiwa’s leadership and abilities to help promote cross-cultural and international exchange, which are at the heart of the Fulbright Program’s efforts to foster people-to-people diplomacy that leads to a more peaceful world,” said Kim D. Eger, who serves on the Fulbright Association national board and Georgia Chapter board.

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 association, which currently operates in 160 countries, has more than 360,000 alumni worldwide. Each year, approximately 8,000 individuals are awarded grants to participate in the association’s programs.

The Georgia Chapter was founded in the early 1990s and organizes six major annual events for visiting scholars, students and alumni. For more information, visit fulbrightga.org.

“The Fulbright Association Georgia Chapter is an active, diverse group of academics and professionals, including veteran and recently returned Fulbrighters from all over Georgia,” said Dr. Vokhiwa. “Our members have received Distinguished Lecturer Awards, Specialists Grants, Teaching and Research Scholar grants, International Education Administrators Seminars and more. We have been to or come from countries such as Barbados, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malawi, Mali, Netherlands, Pakistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.”

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 and Newnan, and online. To learn more, visit penfield.mercer.edu.

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Kyle Sears