A passion for community health has been a uniting thread in Nwabuni “Bunie” Nwana’s life since her years at Wartburg. After graduating with honors in 2009 as the Outstanding International Senior, she put her science degree into practice at Tyson Foods as a microbiologist and chemist, testing food samples for pathogens and toxic chemical agents. She continues her spirit of service and faith as the president and founder of Water For Life Nigeria, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing clean and accessible water to deprived communities in rural Nigeria, her home country, benefiting approximately 5,000 residents. The project was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Davis Peace Project Foundation to build a well, and Nwana was invited to represent the project at the Clinton Global Initiative University.
Seeking skills that would help her improve the health of communities, Nwana earned a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University in 2013. As a graduate student, she interned with the World Health Organization by providing logistic and technical support to field workers in eradicating tuberculosis. Later she served as a principal investigator in borehole evaluation to provide safe and sustainable water in Nigeria’s Umuenechi community.
After earning her master’s, Nwana joined the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education fellowship program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, a highly selective program that connects experts with research facilities. As a guest research scholar, she collaborated with federal agencies and presented her work at several prestigious international conferences. In 2015, she earned an Honor Award for Excellence in Program or Policy Evaluation. Her work has been published numerous times.
In her community, Nwana serves as a leader at her local Toastmasters International Club, is a CDC ambassador, and volunteers with Project Open Hand, which seeks to prevent or manage chronic diseases with home-delivered meals.