Promise McHenga recently joined our engineering family as the Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He has more than 10 years of deep experience with non-government organizations, educational non-profits, and higher education institutions, much of it in an international setting. He says his professional goal in the Diversity Office is “global justice achievement by making higher education attainable to the least and last in society.”
As the Assistant Dean for Diversity Paula Rees said, “I am excited to welcome Promise to our team and look forward to drawing upon his expertise to enhance our support of engineering undergraduate and graduate students.”
McHenga brings with him an impressive amount of experience, all of which lives up to his wonderful first name. From 2009 to 2010, he was the project founder and director for the Madzi (Water) Muzu Project in Muzu Village, Malawi, located in Southeast Africa. While in that position, among other responsibilities, he conducted research and wrote a successful proposal to raise $5,000 and provide clean water for the village.
From 2010 to 2014, McHenga was a cross-cultural communications and education coordinator for the Friends of Children for Arts Society at the Nthandizi Orphan Care Project in Malawi.
Then, in 2013, he founded YouthLine Malawi (www.youthline.org), serving as the team leader in the operations of the youth project, supervising recruitment of students (primary school, high school, and college level) as beneficiaries of the organization’s work, doing financial and human-resource management, and participating in fundraising, among other duties.
He signed on as the admissions coordinator for the UMass Amherst Center for International Education M.Ed. and Ph.D. Programs from 2013 to 2015; a research fellow for the Save the Children International Youth in Action Project in 2015; a health education researcher at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, also in 2015; and then the program and community development coordinator for the UMass Student Affairs and Campus Life and Residence Education Department from 2015 to 2017.
Amazingly, during that same period of time, from 2012 until the present, he somehow squeezed in a part-time position as a health research survey translator for Circle of Hope International in Wilmore, Kentucky, where he translated lessons on HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, and water-borne diseases from English into the Malawian local language.
Finally, in 2017, he was hired as an assistant resident director for the UMass Student Affairs and Campus Life and Residence Education Department.
Meanwhile, in 2015, McHenga earned his Master’s Degree in International Education while churning out a master’s project paper titled “Cultural Diversity and Non-formal Health Education in Dzaleka Refugee Camp.” He also holds an M.A. in Christian Leadership (2013) from the Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky; a B.A. (2009) in Biblical Studies from the African Bible College, Lilongwe Campus, in Malawi; and several valuable educational certificates from various institutions.
Not surprisingly, given his accomplishments and productivity, McHenga earned a number of important educational fellowships along the way, including: A UMass Center for International Education Fellowship; an Urban Promise International Fellowship for on-the-job training with that organization in Camden, New Jersey; and an Alice Lockmiller Scholarship, a Summit Church of Central Florida Scholarship, and a King/Woodward Scholarship for the Master’s program at Asbury Theological Seminary. (April 2019)