She is one of 2 original founders of the Department of Engineering, and the Civil and Mechanical Engineering programs at the University of Mount Union. The other founder and chair was Dr. Donna Mihalek. The engineering department and the engineering programs were established in Fall 2010, hence she has been living and working in Alliance for the past 6.5 years. She is one of a few ethnic minorities to ever start an engineering program. Prior to moving to Alliance, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida (USF), Tampa. A posting she held for 2 years. During her time at USF she brought in one of the largest grants, at the time, to the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (alittle over $783,000). The grant was used to support Master and Ph.D. students.
At the University of Mount Union, she has also been instrumental in developing and leading the required global engineering experience for all mechanical and civil engineering students from the ground up. She is the lead professor for the global engineering experience at the University of Mount Union and speaks 4 languages (including English). She has extensive international experience living/working in different countries around the world. Over the past 4 years, she has led over 8 international trips with students, and taken over 80 engineering students abroad. In Spring 2017, will be her 9th and 10 trips and over 100 engineering students. Of all the courses she teaches at Mount Union, the global engineering experience is her favorite.
She is also an entrepreneur. She recently started Pacific Water, a retail water store in Alliance that provides fresh, tasting, healthy water as well as other water products. She developed this brand as a way to expose her students to the business world of water, and to show them how to build a business from the ground-up using their passion(s), strengths and expertise while serving the greater community. She is a strong proponent of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and she strives to give women engineers more opportunities and encourage them to remain in engineering. She has big visions for Pacific Water to be a leading water company, not just in selling water products but also in developing and manufacturing innovative, water technologies.
Last but not least, she was a former professional athlete for Papua New Guinea. She represented her country at various international meets while she was a college student. The highlight of her running career was leading her 4 x 100 meter relay team to break the national record and win gold in 1999 at an international competition. Her specialty events were the 100m, 200m, and 400m plus the relays. This record student for almost 8 years! She no longer runs competitively but instead does martial arts and competes at tournaments here in Ohio.
Dr. Helen Muga is an engineering professor in the Department of Engineering at the University of Mount Union. Originally from the country of Papua New Guinea, located in the South Pacific, she moved to the U.S. almost 14 years ago to pursue a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and has stayed here ever since. She is one of the first Papua New Guinean to hold a Ph.D. in an engineering field.
Helen has 4 degrees – a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering. Her areas of expertise are in water and wastewater treatment and design, renewable energy, international development work, education, and sustainable development.