(Posted August 17, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- It's not often that a 40-year-old gets to relive his college days, but Mohamadou "Papa" Njie is going to do just that at Juniata College as the U.S. Embassy educational adviser from The Gambia seeks out an authentic college experience to better advise Gambian students who would like to study in the United States.

Njie (pronounced "Knee-shay") will spend three weeks on the Juniata campus through Aug. 5. attending orientation sessions, student activities, admissions programs and sitting in on classes in order to broaden his experience in U.S. higher education. Njie is a public diplomacy and cultural affairs assistant and education adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Banjul, The Gambia, and each year personally advises more than 1,500 Gambian and other African students on how to apply to study in the United States.

"Having an educational adviser from The Gambia visit Juniata is particularly interesting for our students because Juniata has had a study abroad program there since 2005," says Kati Csoman, assistant dean of the center for international education.

During his stay at Juniata, Njie will make visits to Penn State University, Susquehanna University, Washington and Jefferson College and the University of Pittsburgh. Juniata, Susquehanna and Washington and Jefferson are part of the Keystone Study Away Consortium with Juniata, a program where students from all three colleges can study abroad in The Gambia. A professor from one of the consortium institutions accompanies the students for the entire semester.

Juniata started its Gambia study abroad program in 2005 with a summer experience led by Emil Nagengast, professor of politics. Nagengast has returned to The Gambia several times to teach and Cynthia Merriwether-De Vries, associate professor of sociology, taught in The Gambia last year.

Njie is employed by the EducationUSA Advising Network, a program within the U.S. Department of State encompassing 450 advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.