Pempho Chinkondenji

My research interests focus on gender, education, and international development in the “Global South,” especially in the context of Africa.  As a first-generation college student, my academic journey, especially after I completed my secondary education was not easy.  My personal experiences together with my academic journey and professional practice largely contributed to my interest in this area.


I come from Malawi where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication in 2013 from the African Bible College in Lilongwe, Malawi.  After graduating, I worked as a Teaching Assistant and Librarian at the ABC Christian Academy, which is one of the best international schools in Malawi.  During this period, I co-founded a nonprofit organization called Loving Arms Malawi (LAM) that provides educational support for young people, especially girls.  We provide the young people with access to educated role models to encourage them to stay in school and mentor them in their academic journey.  Through LAM, we also raise awareness about sexual violence, and provide free counseling services and access to resources to individuals who need support.


This work motivated me to enroll into a Master of Arts degree in Cross-cultural and International Education at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). My area of specialization was Educational Development and Marginalized Populations because I desired to learn better ways of enhancing the programs I implemented for women and girls in Malawi.  As a Graduate Student at BGSU, I co-founded the American Association of University Women’s Chapter at BGSU to create an inclusive community on campus that provides a platform to breakdown stereotypes and empower college women through leadership programs. 


In 2016, I became a member of the Pan-Pacific and South-East Asian Women’s Association (PPSEAWA-USA), which is an international organization that works in 23 countries and is devoted to families and empowering women and girls.  After serving as the Chapter President for the Toledo Chapter in Ohio, I was appointed as PPSEAWA-USA’s youth Delegate to the United Nations, and I served in this position for two years. Through this role, I collaborate with local and international delegates to promote women empowerment and advocate for the rights of marginalized groups.


With these practical and personal experiences, I was motivated to apply for the PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership with a concentration in International Education.  As I study, I desire to understand the centrality of gender relations and how they connect to education and the development process in Sub-Saharan Africa.  I am very excited to be part of the CIE community at UMass Amherst, and I am looking forward to learning from the faculty, staff and students here!




Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
On-Campus Student