A&E Welcomes a New Faculty Member, Dr. Florah Mhlanga
Dr. Florah Mhlanga was born and raised in rural Zimbabwe, a small country in Southern Africa, in a family of nine children. She obtained a BS Honors degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) after which she worked for one and half years as a Dairy Officer in the Research and Specialist Services of the Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture. With this brief experience in Animal Science, she proceeded to Michigan State University for both her MS and PhD in Animal Breeding and Genetics. She was awarded her doctorate in 1994. Upon completing her PhD in animal sciences at Michigan State University, she returned to Zimbabwe and taught at the UZ’s Department of Animal Science for eight years, three of which she was department chairperson. During her tenure at the UZ, she was actively involved in research and in fostering institutional linkages. Her work on test-day methods of genetics evaluations posited the basis for all subsequent work on test day modeling in southern Africa. Prior to this, not much was known about test day genetic evaluation in southern Africa as the methods were based on 305 day milk evaluations.
While at the UZ, Florah met her husband Fortune, and the two were married in 1995. They have two boys, Carl (born in 1997) and Craig (born in 2002). The family left Zimbabwe in October 2002 and came to the USA, where Florah and Fortune taught at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama for close to five years. Florah taught several Biology courses that include Genetics, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Environmental Science and Zoology in the Science department.
From the time she was a young girl, Florah has always been passionate about animal sciences. Her parents were subsistence farmers who raised a small herd of cattle, kept a few chickens and grew corn, sweet potatoes and ground nuts. Florah always wondered why the milk yield of their cows was very low. Her family could never get enough milk from those cows for household consumption or to sell for cash. This concern inspired her to study the animal sciences. From this impetus emerged her expertise in the improvement of milk yields of dairy cattle.
Florah seeks to glorify God in everything she does. She wants her children to grow in the knowledge of God and to appreciate His providence. Both Florah and Fortune have a heart for missions targeted at development. They were members of the Missions Vision Team for Landmark Church of Christ in Montgomery, Alabama. They have participated in mission work aimed at constructing an orphanage in Zimbabwe. Prior to coming to work in the USA, they attended Avondale Church of Christ in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Besides her work, Florah loves to cook and spend time with her family. She loves her cup of hot tea (and, yes, with milk!).
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