Webster Grad Student and Professor to be Honored for Leadership Roles
December 16, 2021
ST LOUIS - Webster University graduate student Igho Ekakitie and Webster University Counseling Professor Muthoni Musangali will both be recognized by the non-profit organization Vitendo 4 Africa during the organization’s annual awards ceremony this weekend.
Musangali will receive the “Mentor of the Year” award, and Ekakitie will be honored as one of three “Emerging Leaders” for his work with St. Louis non-profits.
“I am humbled to receive this award,” Musangali said “As a counselor, a professor and an immigrant, I strive to give back to my community and to work with others to make this community a better place. I would like to thank the leadership team at Vitendo 4 Africa and also the community for the faith you show in me. I am grateful for the continued support over the years.”
As a professor of counseling at Webster University, Musangali serves as an informal mentor to many students of color at Webster. She is also a mentor with Vitendo 4 Africa’s mentorship program where she also works to promote mental health awareness in the African immigrant community.
Musangali is currently leading an effort in partnership with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and other local organizations, such as BIAS and Casa da Salud, to treat mental health issues in persons from underserved communities, including refugees and immigrants. As part of the project, counseling students at Webster are provided opportunities and support to work with clients from underserved communities using an integrated approach to counseling. This method broadens the scope of their client engagement to include focus on systemic barriers and challenges that underserved populations face that may prevent them from accessing resources to promote mental and emotional wellness.
"I am very honored to have been chosen for the 2021 Emerging Leaders Award by Vitendo 4 Africa,” Ekakitie said. “I grew up in a house where making a difference in people's lives came naturally without thinking about recognition. I am very humbled and thankful to Webster University and everyone that has helped me along the way, and I am dedicating this award to my late mum, Phebe Ekakitie."
Ekakitie is active in the community. He serves on the National Council of the UNA-USA and is a board member of the organization’s St. Louis chapter. He also helped raise funds to help incoming refugees from Afghanistan. In addition, he hosts the podcast “igowithIGHO” which focuses on the experiences college students have when they travel to other countries, as well as those from other countries who study in the United States.
Vitendo 4 Africa is a non-profit group who work to help immigrants from the continent of Africa and to promote and preserve African history, arts and culture in the St. Louis region through educational and outreach programs in Missouri and Africa. Their annual awards ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18.
To see the full list of award winners, or to learn more about Vitendo 4 Africa, visit vitendo4africa.org.