Bluegrass Community and Technical College Announces Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for 2023-2024 | BCTC

Bluegrass Community and Technical College Announces Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for 2023-2024

Published on May 9, 2023

Robert ChirwarLEXINGTON, KY — Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) is pleased to announce that Robert Chirwa has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in Computer and Information Technologies to South Africa for the 2023-2024 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Robert Chirwa is the Coordinator of the Computer & Information Technology and Cybersecurity Programs at BCTC. He has taught at BCTC for 24 years. He has also been awarded the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity grant for minority-serving institutions. He played a leading role in BCTC CIT’s designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Defense (CAE-CD) and Essential Employability Qualities (EEQ) Education provider.

Robert Chirwa will teach a Machine Learning course at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria, South Africa from January to December 2024. Africa is an economically and technologically emerging continent. Machine learning technologies from as simple as auto spelling correction to ChatGPT are now part of modern life and enterprise. Teaching these technologies to students will ensure that the South African Computer Science graduate is ready for today’s applications. Students who learn this course will be instrumental in moving South Africa and Africa forward. Robert Chirwa will also collaborate with Computer Science faculty at TUT and local Information Technology professional in Pretoria in their work.

"Robert Chirwa is one of many of our innovative faculty members. For our instructor to support a university in South Africa is a point of pride for all of us,” said Dr. Koffi Akakpo, BCTC president and CEO. “It shows that our community college provides a high-quality education based on the expertise of our team – that a small school like us has something of value to a big school on the other side of the world.”

Robert Chirwa is among over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach or conduct research abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. As a Fulbright Scholar, Chirwa will join a network of thousands of esteemed scholars and notable Fulbright alumni (new window) including 62 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, 78 MacArthur Fellows, and 41 who have served as a head of state or government.

“We are very excited for Robert to have this experience. It is a tremendous opportunity for him and our community college. When he returns home, he will have much to share with his colleagues and students. I look forward to working with him to promote international exchange, invite foreign scholars to campus and encourage more colleagues and students to go abroad,” says Erin Howard, Associate Dean for Global Learning. BCTC’s Global Learning Program provides faculty, staff, and students guidance and support to research, apply, and participate in international education opportunities such as integrating collaborative online international learning experiences into the classroom, welcoming scholars from all over the world to BCTC, and successfully being accepted to and participating in study abroad and international teaching opportunities.

BCTC Faculty and the community are invited to learn more about the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program (new window) and the Fulbright U.S. Student Program (new window), the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange programs supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world.