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Alumni Q&A: Dr Ghislaine Lewis

08 March 2023

A love of travel and adventure has taken Ghislaine Lewis around the world. Originally from the Caribbean, Ghislaine has studied in Virginia, Florida, New Zealand, and Australia. She is now an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia with research interests in new media, global politics, and policy. We caught up with Ghislaine almost 10 years after living and completing her PhD here at UC.


What brought you all the way down to Aotearoa New Zealand to study for your PhD?

When I was considering graduate schools, a small supportive community was at the top of my list.  I have always had a passion for travel so I thought about places where I could combine my thirst for knowledge and my desire to see and understand the global community around me. The Media and Communication department and my supervisor Dr. Donald Matheson was an incredible support system as I navigated both the research process and being so far from home.

I had an almost perfect doctoral experience.  While being in New Zealand at the height of the earthquakes was isolating and traumatic at times, I formed lifelong friendships with other doctoral students across campus and professors like Dr. Annette Mills in the Department of Accounting and Information System.

I was able to explore the country, and really fell in love with the breathtaking landscapes and the warmth of the Kiwi people.

What has your career been like since leaving UC?

In the almost 10 years since I left the University of Canterbury,  I have lived in Malaysia and taught at Monash University, traveled extensively in South East Asia, and moved back home to the United States in 2017.

For the past six years I have taught at the University of Lynchburg in the Communication Studies Department and in the last three years I have also co-chaired Africana Studies. I teach classes in Communication Studies, Africana Studies, and in the Masters of Nonprofit Leadership program. I also serve as the advisor for both the university’s campus newspaper, The Critograph, and the African Caribbean Union (ACU).

In addition, I am a trainer on the University of Lynchburg’s National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) team and serve on several campus-wide committees including the Leadership Taskforce.

In 2022, you were named among the Lynchburg Business magazine's Top 20 Under 40, recognising "young professionals who are rising stars in their industries and active community volunteers". Can you tell us about this facet of your life?

I have a passion for community service and development, particularly through education. 

As part of my duties at the University of Lynchburg I also serve as director of the Pierce Street Gateway, a local nonprofit that is focused on the revitalization of a historically-significant Black neighborhood in Lynchburg, Va. In 2021, as part of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance’s Leadership Lynchburg 45th class, I along with my teammates began a local community garden, the Pierce Street Community Garden.

I also serve as the president of the Central Virginia Academy for Nonprofit Excellence (CVANE), a local nonprofit that is focused on accessibility to low-cost training. I also serve on the board for the Link Project which teaches high school students from underserved communities about global citizenship. I also serve on the exhibition committee for the Legacy Museum of African American History.

Media contact
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  • Phone: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168
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