At just thirteen years old, Dr. Helen Muga relocated from her native Papua New Guinea to attend school in Australia. Dr. Muga’s experience with other cultures at a young age made the transition easier when she moved again, years later, to Cleveland. No stranger to a challenge, Dr. Muga is also a former professional athlete and led her track team to break a national record that stood for eight years!

 In 2010, Dr. Muga moved to the Greater Cleveland region to build two new engineering programs at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. The development and implementation of these programs was not an easy task, although it was very rewarding. In May 2014 the college graduated its first class of students, and in August 2015 the civil and mechanical engineering programs received full accreditation. For the past three and a half years Dr. Muga has taken a group of engineering students to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize, with plans to travel to Panama next year. The project fulfills the students’ global experience requirement, which was also developed by Dr. Muga. The global experience allow Dr. Muga to utilize her skills in a humanitarian setting, and push her students to challenge the boundaries of their skills, talent, and knowledge. Dr. Muga is a civil engineering professor at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio.

Dr. Muga received a Ph.D and masters degree in environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University, a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Papua New Guinea. In addition to speaking Pidgin, the national language of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Muga speaks Kuanua, English, and Spanish, and hopes to learn Arabic and Mandarin.

In the photo above, Dr. Muga is pictured in the second row from the front, wearing safety goggles.