Mercy Associate Professor Receives Fulbright Specialist Program Award

Mercy University Associate Professor Renu Varuguese

Mercy University Associate Professor Renu Abraham Varughese, Ph.D. has been chosen to receive a Fulbright Specialist Program award. This is the second time, Varughese receives the honor of a Fullbright award. In 2015, she was awarded the US-Nehru Fulbright scholarship for Professional Excellence, which enabled her to travel to India and Sri Lanka for a year-long research and teaching project. The Fulbright Specialist Program, a program of the U.S. Department of State, is a unique opportunity for academics and established professionals to engage in two- to six-week, project-based exchanges at host institutions across the globe. Recipients of Fulbright Specialist awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

“Being awarded the Fulbright Specialist Program is an immense honor and privilege for me. It signifies not only recognition of my expertise and dedication in my field but also an opportunity to contribute to global knowledge exchange and collaboration.,” said Varughese. “Receiving this award means that I have the chance to engage with diverse cultures, share insights, and foster mutual understanding, ultimately advancing academic and professional networks worldwide.”

Varughese will spearhead a “Train the Trainer” program in elder care in Durban, South Africa hosted by The Association for the Aged (TAFTA). The objectives of the program are to build participants’ knowledge and understanding of the changes in ageing and their impact on the cognitive and physiological functioning of older adults, and to facilitate knowledge sharing to care partners in South Africa and Sub-Saharan African countries to cascade knowledge and skills to care professionals. While the training will take place in South Africa, representatives from other Sub-Saharan countries (Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi and Botswana) will be coming to Durban to attend the program. The program is free for attendees, but each participant is expected to go back to their country and train six other individuals using the knowledge gained and the resources made available to them.

“Through the Fulbright experience, I aim to contribute positively to global aging and promote quality of life for elders through education and training,” said Varuguese, who hopes to do similar training programs in other African countries, where there is a similar need for elder care education.

Most importantly, she added “I hope to bring the 'world experience' to my classroom at Mercy University to enlighten and inspire my students about the endless possibilities awaiting them as they explore the world as a vast classroom.”