HR Fulbright student jets off to Vanderbilt University, US

Posted on May 11, 2022

Lonwabo Makapela, a PhD fellow in the Department of Human Resource Management, will join Vanderbilt University in the US for 10 months as a visiting student researcher in gender studies as part of the US Fulbright Foreign Student Program.

Makapela will jet off to the US in August where she will be conducting experimental research under the mentorship of Professor Maria Triana at the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University.

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program provides postgraduate students from abroad an opportunity to study and conduct research in the US. Makapela, who is currently in the second year of her PhD at the University of Pretoria (UP), was nominated as a principal candidate for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program in March 2022 after making the final list of nominations for the program last year in October.

At Vanderbilt University, she will be conducting research on hair bias and identity work among black women in organisations. Her research interest in this subject area was inspired by Prof Stella Nkomo’s work on ‘African’ leadership and management, Prof Nasima Carrim’s research on the identity work of Indian women, as well as Prof Ashleigh Rosette’s article on Agentic women and communal leadership. The three professors are researchers in the Department of Human Resources Management (HRM) at UP.

“I believe that the articles of these three researchers and the critical discussions with Prof Jenny Hoobler fueled my interest in conducting research on the experiences, perceptions and true realities of Africans within the context of diversity, gender, leadership and management,” says Makapela, who plans to become a world-renowned expert in the field of gender and diversity in organisations.

The opportunity to be part of the US Fulbright Foreign Student Program has been a moment of great pride for the aspiring gender expert.

“I felt and still feel incredibly proud of myself. It is a real ‘pinch me’ moment, mostly because of how prestigious and highly competitive the Fulbright Program is. The fact that I get to celebrate this achievement with my family that inspires and supports me so much is the most wonderful feeling,” she expresses.

She is grateful for the support she received from the Department of HRM during the application for the US Fulbright Program. Makapela is also a research associate in the Department, a role she says has made a meaningful contribution to her academic journey through the opportunities it has offered her.

She looks forward to her research visit at Vanderbilt University and gaining knowledge from esteemed gender and diversity experts. 

- Author Refilwe Mabula

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences