Oakton College professor to study climate change and public health in Mongolia this summer

Khursheed Ichhaporia, associate professor of biology, will participate in the Council of American Overseas Research Centers’ Overseas Faculty Development Seminar

Oakton College biology Professor Khursheed Ichhaporia will travel to Mongolia this summer to study climate change and public health with a select group of college educators. Ichhaporia will join 13 faculty from community colleges and minority-serving institutions selected by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) to participate in the Overseas Faculty Development Seminar.

“I am extremely excited to be selected among such a talented pool of faculty,” said Ichhaporia. “The program offers a unique opportunity to enhance my understanding of Mongolian culture and the implications of climate change for Mongolian people. I am eager to apply the insights gained into Oakton’s curriculum and share them with my students.”

This year’s extreme winter conditions in Mongolia, known as dzud, resulted in over 5.9 million livestock losses. The winter recorded the highest snowfall in 49 years, resulting in food shortages for thousands of families. According to The New York Times article “A Harsh Mongolian Winter Leaves Millions of Livestock Dead,” the relationship between the dzud weather pattern and climate change remains unclear as there are currently no scientific studies investigating potential correlations.

However, Mongolia has witnessed a rise of 2.1 degrees Celsius in average air temperatures over the last 70 years, positioning it among the nations most impacted by climate change, according to the United Nations Development Program.

“My visit will allow me to see firsthand how climate change is already impacting public health and life in both urban centers and rural communities in Mongolia,” added Ichhaporia.

Overseas Faculty Development Seminars are fully-funded programs that help faculty and administrators from U.S. community colleges and minority-serving institutions gain international experience. The goal is to develop and enhance international courses, curricula and teaching materials at their home institutions.

Participants selected for these seminars will receive round-trip travel, accommodations, meals and programming for the duration of the seminar, which typically lasts between two and three weeks. The seminars are conducted in partnership with participating Overseas Research Centers (ORCs) and are supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Ichhaporia joined Oakton 11 years ago and teaches general college biology, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology and genetics. She earned a Doctor of Education from Ferris State University, an MBA from the University of Rochester, and a Master of Science from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Community colleges lead the way in providing training for careers in the health professions and fields related to climate change. By choosing to study biology at Oakton, you will have the opportunity to investigate the mysteries and processes of the living world. Biology majors often work in medicine, zoology, biology, botany, education, environmental studies and more.

To learn more about the programs offered at Oakton, go to

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