Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meet the New Humphrey Fellows

Dr. Faulkner and the International Education program welcomed a new group of international scholars to campus recently. Vanderbilt University is hosting a new group of ten Humphrey Fellows. They are leaders in the field of education in their home countries. The Humphrey Program is a Fulbright exchange activity funded by the U.S. Department of State. As in years past, part of the program will involve partnerships with Vol State, including presentations and class interactions. Here's a look at the group this year:
Mr. Hilarion Vegba, from Benin, is a high school principal in an underserved village. Compassion for his students prompted him to create a lunchtime mentoring club for teenage girls, develop an environmental club, which all helped to decrease the dropout rate of girls at his school. He is especially interested in the professional development and capacity building of teachers and administrators. Mr. Vegba’s professional goals include developing and supporting educational leaders, strengthening school, family, and community connections, and improving policies that serve children. As a Humphrey Fellow, he looks forward to enhancing his skills in teacher training.
Mrs. Kelly Cardozo, from Brazil, serves as the Pedagogical Coordinator at the Institute for Sustainable Development where she helps coordinate projects focused on the development of cultural and social entrepreneurship, educational heritage, ethnic-racial education, and environmental education. In her work, she has observed how important it is to appreciate and support communities. Mrs. Cardozo wishes to use her Humphrey year to learn about the desegregation in the United States’ education system. Upon her return to Brazil, she intends to create socio-cultural centers with professional courses, making it possible to develop new, diverse leaders that will work in the communities in which they live.
Ms. Lesong Lamao Dongtse, of China, is an Education Administrator in the Education Department of Zaduo County, a region near Tibet where 97% of the population is nomadic. She works to raise awareness of the importance of education and to improve the education system for youth in rural, impoverished areas. Upon her return, Ms. Dongtse plans to enhance educational opportunities in her community through creating networks between the education department, families, schools, and community groups.
Ms. Libni Guardado, from El Salvador, has been an English teacher since 1997. In a region that has been affected by gang warfare, she helps her students grow both academically and in discipline, respect, and courtesy. In addition to teaching middle school English, she also teaches English at a nonprofit organization that serves students from rural areas. During her Humphrey year, Ms. Guardado would like to learn more about child psychology and motivation. She is also interested in studying school-community connections and enhancing her teaching skills to become a better instructor of the English language. 
Ms. Nancy Mendy, of The Gambia, serves as the Principal Education Officer responsible for special education in the Ministry of Education. She coordinates special needs programs nationwide, provides professional development for current teachers and teachers in-training, and has a weekly TV show to teach sign language and to interpret the news for the hearing impaired. Additionally, she coordinated the development of the Special Needs and Inclusive Education Policy Framework, 2009-2015 and is the current coordinator for the 2015-2025 Framework. Ms. Mendy is especially interested in studying educational policy and instruction for students with special needs in low-income areas. Upon her return home, she hopes to develop policies and implement services that support the delivery of inclusive practices in all sectors of The Gambia’s education system.
Mr. Ousmane Bâ, from Mauritania, has been teaching English and French in high schools since 1997 and has worked with Peace Corps, Mauritania as a modal school supervisor. During his tenure, he created the first English club at his school, which spread throughout the district, and schools now host English cultural exchanges that include activities such as football games and knowledge bowls. Additionally, he conducts quarterly trainings about incorporating technology into teaching, hosts an English radio program to teach the language, and volunteers on a mediation forum between the teachers’ union and the Ministry of Education. Mr. Bâ would like to use his Humphrey year to enhance his skills in teacher training and student assessment so that he can better serve Mauritanian stuents.

Mr. Siradji Mahamane, of Niger, works for the Inspectorate of Secondary Learning in the Ministry of Education and has been working in public schools for over twenty years. As a teacher trainer, he is passionate about helping teachers develop professionally and he conducts workshops, training sessions, and classroom visits in order to assist English teachers. Additionally, he assists the pedagogical inspector in measuring teachers’ professional progress. As a Humphrey fellow, Mr. Mahamane looks forward to learning new trends in teaching English language and to further develop his skills in monitoring and evaluating teachers.
Mr. Farhan Vakani, of Pakistan, a medical doctor holds the position of Assistant Manager at Aga Khan University where he creates, plans, and monitors continuing education for medical personnel. He is also a researcher and has been published in various medical journals. Pakistan still lacks a national Continuing Medical Education (CME) framework and Dr. Vakani would like to use his Humphrey year to study how CME is implemented in the United States. that will enhance physicians’ knowledge and make a positive impact on health outcomes in his home country.
Ms. Roselle Mendoza, from the Philippines, serves as a high school principal in the rural, mountainous Nueva Vizcaya province, which currently has a focus on promoting indigenous education. Always trying to improve the lives of her students, designed a dropout reduction program, initiated teacher trainings to address achievement gaps, and made provisions to support the cultural preservation of the many ethnic tribes at her school, which was done with the support of teachers. Most recently, she was a project coordinator for Amnesty International. Dr. Mendoza’s Humphrey focus is to enhance her capability as an instructional leader and manager. Upon her return, she hopes to use these skills to mainstream students from diverse cultural backgrounds in order to create better learning outcomes and an intercultural society.
Mrs. Geeta Motilal, from South Africa, has been a lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand since 2002. She teaches and supervises undergraduate education majors, lectures in Masters-level courses, and recently began lecturing in an executive education program for school principals. She is also involved in school development and improvement programs throughout South Africa. Dr. Motilal’s Humphrey focus is to study the theory and methods of instructional leadership and educational management. Upon her return to South Africa, she intends to develop a more rigorous training program for educational leaders and principals to empower and equip them with skills to improve the education system.

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