Against All Odds to Become a Fulbright Scholar

Dr. Venicia McGhie, left, with Cape Town Public Affairs Officer John Vance
Dr. Venicia McGhie, left, with Cape Town Public Affairs Officer John Vance

Born during the height of apartheid in South Africa, when educational opportunities for the majority where few, Dr. Venicia McGhie was forced to drop out of school at Grade 10 and work as a domestic to support herself and her siblings after her parents’ passing.  Dr. McGhie, however, knew that the setback was temporary and that her hard work would lead to a very different future.

It definitely did.  Today, a senior lecturer and academic development practitioner at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Dr. McGhie is an inspiration to her students, colleagues, and all those with whom she interacts.  In 2012, she earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of Stellenbosch, specializing in critical linguistics, pragmatics and second language acquisition.  To add to her many achievements, Dr. McGhie recently won a prestigious Fulbright post-doctoral fellowship at The University of Missouri, St. Louis in the United States.  While pursuing this fellowship, she will spend almost a year “investigating and evaluating best practices with regard to first year students’ throughput, retention programs, and support services at the university.”  Dr. McGhie hopes to use the knowledge gained from her Fulbright experience to improve similar support services at UWC and anticipates this will also benefit other higher education institutions in South Africa.

The U.S. Mission to South Africa is proud that Dr. McGhie joins a long list of eminent and distinguished Fulbright scholars from South Africa (including Brian O’Connell, Jonathan Jansen, and Crain Soudien among others) who continue to transform the higher education landscape in Africa.  We wish her well as she departs to the United States and look forward to working with her as she advances her efforts in South Africa’s education arena.

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