Wakiuru Wamwara, who has tirelessly worked to expand global awareness at Wright State University and in the community, will receive the university’s International Education Award for 2019.
The associate professor of marketing at the Raj Soin College of Business will be presented with the award on Nov. 21 as part of activities to celebrate International Education Week. The honor will be bestowed during a reception in the Student Union Atrium from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
“I am very humbled by this award and would like to thank all who nominated me and all who have supported me during my career at WSU,” Wamwara said.
The University Center for International Education (UCIE) is planning cultural events from Nov. 18 to 22 to celebrate International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education.
International Week is designed to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences.
Wamwara was nominated for the award by Thomas Traynor, dean of the Raj Soin College of Business. He noted that Wamwara’s commitment to international education was evident by the scope of activities that she had undertaken as a member of the Wright State faculty.
At the Raj Soin College of Business, Wamwara has coordinated efforts to internationalize the business curriculum, including developing an online international marketing course.
She has regularly conducted international and study abroad sessions, promoted study abroad opportunities offered by faculty, organized classroom visits from international guests and held UCIE brown bag seminars on travel to Germany, Brazil and Kenya. Wamwara has also given lectures in several countries as well as served on faculty on Semester at Sea.
Wamwara’s nomination was also supported by Daniel Asamoah, associate professor of management information systems who next summer will participate in a program at the University of Accra–Legon in the African nation of Ghana.
“Her commitment to involving students, staff and faculty in her internationalization endeavor is nothing short of exemplary,” Asamoah wrote in his letter nominating Wamwara. “She provided valuable advice and feedback during my application to teach abroad in the USAC program.”
Kefa Otiso, professor of geography at Bowling Green State University and founding president of the Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (Kessa), wrote in his nomination letter that Wamwara is a model teacher-scholar with an unparalleled passion for international education.
“Her enthusiasm for study abroad and dedicated service to the academy and the community has and will touch many people in the future,” he wrote.
Wamwara serves as the treasurer of Kessa. She has also been a regular invited speaker at the Defense Institute of Security Advance Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where she has trained Air Force personnel deploying to U.S. embassies in Africa. She has also served as an acculturation volunteer with Catholic Social Services, where she developed and delivered five workshops for refugee women.
In 2017, Wamwara received the prestigious Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship and went to Kenya to work with KCA and ANU universities on faculty development and mentoring of graduate students. Wamwara is also on the Fulbright Specialist roster until December 2020 as an African region specialist.
In 2019, Wamwara participated in a faculty exchange at Schmalkalden University in Germany, where she was an invited guest lecturer. Wamwara also developed and led Wright State’s 2019 Japan study abroad program, where students visited shrines, government offices, retail stores and stayed at the homes of Japanese families.
MBA student Michelle Gigante wrote: “Dr. Wamwara truly cares for the need of the welfare of her students. Her patience and compassion was evident on several occasions during the study abroad program. Her ability to provide just the right amount of structure allowed each student the opportunity to explore the Japanese culture with open mindset at our own pace. However, she would challenge us to get out of our comfort zone, such as trying the unique Japanese cuisines or activities.”
Wamwara received the Outstanding Marketing Teacher 2019 award and Outstanding Service 2019 award at the Raj Soin College of Business.
Wamwara grew up in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, a city of more than 4.3 million people. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, her master’s degree in management information systems and marketing from Vanderbilt University and her Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Memphis.
In 2003, Wamwara joined the faculty at Wright State. She teaches courses in principles of marketing, international marketing, consumer behavior and MBA marketing strategy.
Wamwara said her father, Peter Wamwara, always encouraged her to pursue a career where she could work anywhere in the world.
“My parents, Beth and Peter Wamwara, planted the seed and I first left Kenya for study abroad to Madagascar,” she said. “Study abroad broadened my horizons and I have remained passionate about international education.”
To learn more about study abroad opportunities at Wright State University visit wright.edu/international-education.