Wenderott Selected for Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange

Jill Wenderott

Jill Wenderott, Anne Stevens Assistant Professor of materials science and engineering, has been selected for the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  The program empowers and fosters closer relations among young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and local community engagement.

The Reciprocal Exchange component provides U.S. citizens with the opportunity to build upon strategic partnerships and professional connections developed during the Fellowship.  As a Reciprocal Exchange Participant, Wenderott has the unique opportunity to implement a project co-designed with Cecilia China, PhD in Tanzania that will form lasting partnerships, expand markets and networks, and increase mutual understanding between the United States and Africa.

Wenderott's project partner, Cecelia China, presenting at science kit training
Cecelia China leading a lab kit training at the Mgeta Division schools workshop.

In this co-designed project that started in June, Women Supporting Women in the Sciences (WS2), a global organization that Wenderott co-founded with Joyce Elisadiki, PhD, has been working closely with the Foundation of Researchers to Empower Women in STEM (FREWIS) based in Tanzania to expand the use of WS2’s low-cost physics and materials science lab kits for K-12 students in regions in Morogoro, Tanzania. The project culminated with a hybrid three-day workshop that ran from September 20th-22nd and trained 30 primary- and secondary-level teachers from Mgeta Division schools on the energy transfer and food science lab kits.

WS2 lab kits being used by students
WS2 lab kits in use after the workshop.

Following the workshop, supplies were provided to the teachers to use the lab kits in their classrooms, which will engage 900 students. WS2 lab kit teacher and student manuals in Swahili and English on topics including light and color, energy transfer, food science, and electrostatics are available for free download from their website.

Since 2022 and with the support of an American Physical Society Innovation Fund award, WS2 lab kits have reached over 5100 students at over 40 school sites in eastern Africa.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.

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