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UMES names new chairwoman of its human ecology dept.

  • Monday, June 29, 2015

    UMES names new chairwoman of its human ecology department  

    Dr. Grace W. NamwambaPRINCESS ANNE, MD- (June 29, 2015) - Dr. Grace Wasike Namwamba is the new chairwoman of the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

    Namwamba previously taught in Baton Rouge, La. at Southern University and Agriculture and Mechanical College, where she was a professor and led the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. She also served between 2012 and 2013 as Southern's interim Dean of the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

    "UMES is one of the leading (historically black institutions) in the country," she said. "It's a very attractive place. The Department of Human Ecology has a long history of very outstanding leaders, and I'm honored to have this opportunity."

    Namwamba will lead a department within UMES' School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences (SANS) that attracts about 200 undergraduates who study child development, dietetics, nutrition, family and consumer sciences, family and consumer sciences education and fashion merchandising.

    Fashion merchandising is Namwamba's field, where her focus has been on digital textile printing and 3D virtual prototyping for apparel products. Digital textile printing, she said, provides professionals who are trained in the field with wider latitude in printing unique and intricate designs directly on fabric through use of specialized technology.

    "It gives you the opportunity to be very creative," she said.

    Known for her grant-writing successes, she has procured generous funding for classrooms and laboratories, including a Computer-Aided-Design laboratory, a 3D Body Scanning laboratory, a Digital Textile Printing laboratory, two textile testing laboratories and a high-tech multi-media classroom.

    Namwamba said she plans to draw on that experience to bring similar cutting-edge technology to UMES classrooms.

    "I am delighted that Dr. Namwamba is joining the SANS leadership team," said Moses Kairo, the school's dean. "She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will ensure that the Department of Human Ecology continues to grow to even greater heights."

    The opportunity to lead UMES' human ecology department is appealing, Namwamba said, because of the university's' proximity to major metropolitan areas, including the fashion industry in New York. "It's where anyone in my field would want to be," she said.

    During two decades as a member of Southern's faculty, she generated over $4 million in grants for teaching and research. She was twice recognized by Southern for her grant-writing efforts by being inducted into the "Millionaire Club" for bringing into that university at least $1 million in a year.

    Her digital textile printing research led to publication of a textbook adopted for a course taught on the subject at Iowa State University. She also has published several papers and presented her research at various national conferences.

    Namwamba said she is looking forward "to growing all programs in the department of human ecology at UMES. It is an exciting time for students to be in college and we will be working hard to make (graduates) marketable when they graduate," she said.