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Baldwin Wallace forges study abroad alliances in Zambia with First Lady’s support

Baldwin Wallace University SLP graduate student Andrea Flowers works with students in Zambia.

At the Zambia Statehouse, left to right, Owen Mugemezulu, Zambia’s permanent secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Christie King-Shrefler, BW director of study abroad, Chisomo Selemani, BW asThe growing collaboration between Baldwin Wallace University and organizations in Zambia rose to a new level as the First Lady of the African nation welcomed a BW delegation for a meeting at the country's Statehouse.

As BW explores new study abroad and service-learning partnerships within the country, First Lady Esther Lungu and Zambia's Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Owen Mugemezulu, met with a BW contingent led by Colleen Visconti, dean of the BW School of Health Sciences.

Map of Africa and Zambia"She is committed to using her position as First Lady to address the wellness of vulnerable populations in her country," Visconti noted. "BW's hope is to find collaborative projects that positively impact Zambian people, in particular, children, and also provide meaningful experiences for BW students. We had a wonderful, productive meeting."

BW has already established strong ties to Zambia through Chisomo Selemani, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders. Selemani, a BW graduate and native of Zambia, opened the door to the exchange with her home country and she is delighted to see her vision for the partnership grow.

"None of this would have been possible without Chisomo," Visconti said.

Uncommon clinical experience

Baldwin Wallace University Speech Language Pathology graduate students at one of their service sites in Zambia, the Arise Africa Christian SchoolIn May, the first group of 18 BW speech-language pathology (SLP) graduate students traveled to Zambia for a 15-day clinical practicum, providing speech and language services at a variety of sites around the region. Moving forward, the distinctive Zambia service-learning experience will be offered annually to first-year graduate students as part of the SLP program.

Baldwin Wallace University SLP graduate student Hannah Kerr works with students in Zambia.Bridging the miles between Berea and southern Africa with technology, BW also provides ongoing distance mentorship, professional development and educational opportunities for the small number of practitioners who work with Zambian children with communication disabilities.

The international exchange provides a two-way avenue, as well. This fall semester, the BW School of Health Sciences will enroll the first Zambian speech-language pathology graduate student.

Widening the scope

To widen the scope of the exchange beyond the health sciences, BW is currently investigating the development of undergraduate study abroad opportunities for students in broadcasting, theatre, computer sciences, communication sciences and disorders, and education.

Members of the faculty and administrative group traveling with Visconti and Selemani to explore new programming potential included Scott Plate, associate professor of theatre, John DiGennaro, director of strategic initiatives and libraries, and Christie King-Shrefler, director of study abroad.

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