In 2021 the Fulbright Program celebrates its 75th anniversary (in Poland, the Program has been present for 62 years). We are joining this celebration by presenting monthly Fulbright alumni stories that showcase the positive impact of the Program on local and global communities. Each of these stories reflects the theme of the month. The September theme is “Impact on Diplomacy” and our Fulbright story focuses on Pandora White, who talks about her work in the field of global public health and how the Fulbright grant has impacted her development of international projects. More information about the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program can be found at fulbright75.org.
Pandora White, PhD, MPH is a visiting assistant professor of chemistry at Schreiner University in Kerrville, TX. She received her PhD in biochemistry from The University of Alabama in 2019, MPH in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2020, MS in chemistry from The University of Alabama and BS in chemistry from Alcorn State University.
Pandora’s interest in global health began in 2012, when she studied at the University of Ghana in Accra with support from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. In 2013, she conducted research on Staphylococcus aureus in India at St. John’s Research Institute through the NIH Minority Health and International Training Program (MHIRT). In 2015, she researched the effects of trivalent chromium on healing in Taiwan at National Chung Hsing University through the NSF’s East Asia Summer Pacific Islands Program.
Following her experience in Taiwan, Pandora won a Fulbright US Student Fellowship to Poland (2016-17) to study the effects of trivalent chromium and bitter melon on type 2 diabetes at Poznan University of Life Sciences. After completing her Fulbright grant, Pandora returned to the United States to complete her doctoral studies in biochemistry. Due to the profound impact that international exchange played on changing the trajectory of her life, Pandora sought to encourage others like her to pursue exchange opportunities. She became a Gilman alumni ambassador in 2018 and a Fulbright alumni ambassador in 2019. She has spoken at numerous platforms about her time abroad.
In 2019, Pandora completed her doctoral studies and left for Peru as a NIH Fogarty Global Health Postdoctoral Fellow to study gastric cancer. She also began her MPH studies virtually. Due to COVID travel bans, she returned to the USA. Pandora and her team members have applied and won 2 Citizen diplomacy grants for projects for Mulaii (in Pakistan) and We Represent (in USA). In Pakistan, the Mulaii project focuses on public health endeavors. The team has organized workshops on COVID-19, prepared COVID-19 awareness advertisements and videos, and have been implementing low-cost water filters in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The goal of We Represent is to encourage students of diverse populations to apply for international exchange. We Represent hosted a virtual conference in March 2019 with over 40 guest speakers from around the world representing the diversity of the USA and over 600 registrants from over 40 states in the USA.