Two Faculty to Expand Global Educational Horizons as Fulbright Scholars

Friday, July 25, 2014
Onyancha Richard (1)

Richard Onyancha

Rose-Hulman professors Richard Onyancha and Yosi Shibberu will teach, conduct research, and expand global educational opportunities in science, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as faculty Fulbright Scholars in Africa during the 2014-15 academic year.

The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government, and is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people from other countries.

Beginning in September, Onyancha, associate professor of mechanical engineering, will spend 10 months at the Copperbelt University in Zambia, while Shibberu, professor of mathematics, will be at Jimma University in Ethiopia, his home country.

During his international experience, Onyancha hopes to start collaborations that can help address some of the challenges experienced in higher education STEM fields across Africa. One of the primary problems in east and central regions of the continent is insufficient numbers of well-trained faculty to teach STEM course-related subjects.

A native of Kenya, Onyancha plans to write a proposal to fund the development and implementation of a joint master's degree program in mechanical engineering between Copperbelt, Kenya's Rongo University College, and Rose-Hulman. He will also teach courses, conduct spatial skills research, mentor STEM faculty members, and present seminars and guest lectures throughout Zambia as coordinated by the country's U.S. embassy.

Shibberu Yosi (1)

Yosi Shibberu

Meanwhile, Shibberu will facilitate international projects for Rose-Hulman students as well as promote innovation and entrepreneurship at Rose-Hulman and Jimma University, Ethiopia's largest university.

With a young, vibrant economy, Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Shibberu will promote private, free enterprise as the best way of achieving sustainable development.

"I am looking forward to building relationships and collaborating on interesting and meaningful projects," says Shibberu, who spent the first two years of his life in Jimma and came to the U.S. when he was 18 years old. "I am sure there will be many challenges requiring patience and perseverance, but I hope these will help broaden my perspectives and help me grow as an individual."

Onyancha and Shibberu are among approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals travelling abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2014-15. The program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.

Seven current Rose-Hulman faculty members have been Fulbright Scholars since 1975-76, along with another six emeriti, retired, and former professors.

A member of the Rose-Hulman faculty since 2007, Onyancha helped organize a Faculty Without Borders visit to open dialogue for ideas to develop alternate light sources as part of an Edu-Light Africa project. He also led last summer's field studies adventure throughout Kenya.

Onyancha formerly was a managing consultant for MEACEOM Consultants in Kenya and was a design engineer for the Kenya government's Ministry of Public Works, Housing, and Physical Planning. He specializes in manufacturing, solid mechanics, and metrology, and has conducted research in engineering education, micro-manufacturing, and micro-metrology. He earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Kenya's University of Nairobi, a master's degree in industrial engineering from Brunel University in London, and doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Hampshire.

Shibberu was profiled among America's top mathematics professors in The Princeton Review's Best 300 Professors book, published in 2012. He earned Rose-Hulman's Outstanding Teacher Award in 2013. A member of the faculty since 1992, Shibberu teaches courses in dynamics and control theory, and scientific computation. He has conducted research in discrete-time Hamiltonian dynamics, and structural bioinformatics and protein dynamics. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Swarthmore College, master's degrees in electrical engineering and applied mathematics from the University of Texas, and a doctorate in mathematics from Texas.