UBC MCF Scholars
UBC MASTERCARD FOUNDATION SCHOLARS BIOS
Oladimeji has always had a passion for learning and took his academic work very seriously. Throughout his teenage years in high school in Nigeria, Oladimeji was particularly strong in organic chemistry and biology. Oladimeji took his love for teaching and science to the Federal University of Technology where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and graduated in the top 1% of his class. His final year research project found that the level of antioxidant potential of mango wine improved with the seed and leaves of the Moringa Oleifera.
Outside of academics Oladimeji is involved in a local community project around food security. As an active member of Agro-Allied Community Development Service Group (a voluntary and non-profit body), Oladimeji was appointed as the assistant project coordinator for this project.
Oladimeji is excited to start his Master of Food Science as the program is a key step for him in achieving his long term career and personal goals. Oladimeji plans to use his MFS training to improve the nutritional value of cassava, to combat the issue of nutrition deficiency. Upon his return to home to Nigeria, Oladimeji plans to find work as graduate research assistant working in food security.
Josephine was determined to study as school was the one place she found the most happiness and a sense of belonging. Josephine was admitted into one of Ghana’s top universities, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and completed a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources Technology. Driven by her passion for meaningful community service, Josephine served as an interviewer for a household survey component of a study that was designed to assess the economic value of key ecosystem services, notably water provided by the Atewa Forest in Ghana. The outcomes of this project would contribute to the decision making process, and improve protection of the Atewa forest while working towards a government led process to change the protection status of the Forest Reserve into a National Park.
The decision to study the Master of Sustainable Forest Management at the University of British Columbia underlines her desire to be a part of an education system that has a long standing tradition of comprehensive research-based teaching and learning. The MSFM program will offer Josephine the ideal platform to specialize in knowledge-specific forestry practices. Josephine’s career aspiration after the course is to work with research based groups in forestry and nature conservation, to improve research and enhance environmental sustainability to protect and empower the poor. Josephine has a passion to give back to society and her priority is to honour all the support and help she has received so far by becoming a renowned researcher and conservation activist as well as to start a non-profit organization that will offer support to young girls.
Charles is the 6th born in a family of 7 children, raised by his mother after the Rwandan genocide. With little financial security, accessing education proved to be a real challenge. Charlesreceived a full scholarship from the charity organization, Generation Rwanda, to attend the University of Rwanda. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with Honours. Charles has worked with the Land Center of Gasaboon in the implementation masterplan, land management and construction permitting. In March 2015, Charles was selected to represent SOS Children’s Village (SOS CV) Rwanda on behalf of all the youth supported by SOS CV Rwanda – for the 2030 Youth Coalition. The coalition is made up of youth from different counties to contribute to the development of the SOS Children’s Village 2030 Strategy starting in 2016. Charles also co-founded the Youth Ambassadors Initiative Rwanda which aims to promote leadership skills among young people
Charles believes that the Master of Land and Water Systems will stimulate his innovation in water system management and provide him with best management practices for the successful implementation of major projects back in Rwanda. In particular he hopes to gain advanced skills in land management. Charles believes that Rwanda needs qualified people for strong water and land management practices given the small size of the country and the competing battle for managing space and resources for people and the natural environment.
Fulu was a strong innovator throughout his high school years and had a knack for applying academic theories to complex problems. Fulu scored particularly well in Science and Mathematics which led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the National University of Lesotho. Fulu excelled in his undergraduate studies and received several awards, including best third year and best graduating student awards in his department.
Following his undergraduate studies, Fulu developed a passion for leadership and management programmes as he recognized the potential impact strong leaders can have on the development of his country. Fulu notes that there is a shortage of business leadership and management expertise in Lesotho and believes the Master of Business Administration at UBC will be instrumental in helping him achieve his goal of establishing a business consultancy firm. His aim is to provide African citizens with business management and leadership skills at an affordable cost with the hopes that this will make a substantial impact on the economic growth and development in Lesotho.
Outside of his studies, Fulu currently volunteers as an event coordinator of a local soccer tournament in his community that aims to unite and strengthen relationships between residents and to keep youth engaged and off the streets.
From a young age, Grace was known for planting trees around her home. She developed a passion for environmental issues because the local river and forest area in her village was being depleted to make way for agriculture development. Her desire to see the environment in her community maintained led her down an academic path of general science throughout her secondary education. Grace’s passion for the environment led her to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where she obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resources Management. Some of Grace’s work during her undergraduate degree focused on wildfire management and included a week-long wildfire education project in Tepa Abonsuaso, a forest fringe community where she has spent the early part of her childhood. The goal of the project was to inform people about the causes, effects, dangers as well as possible remedies of wildfires.
Grace has noted that the urgency to curtail the negative backlashes of natural resource depletion has depended on professionals who have the knowledge and experience to sensitize and educate the general public on sustainable natural resources management. Grace believes that the Master of International Forestry program will provide her with the knowledge and skills to tackle two important environmental issues she is passionate about – nature conservation in city environments as well as the increasing risk of wildfires in Ghana.
Raised in the crossroads as a woman standing for her gender’s humanity in a deeply patriarchal society, Rachael is constantly taught that the empowerment of women is “un-African” and sometimes “un-Christian”. She strives to not only challenge the status quo but to fight for both the liberation of females, as well as the equality of each individual. This passion has driven her to co-find a service group called “La Ninya”, which provides girls in Mombasa with the necessary skills to impart change in their community. In their short three years since establishment, her group has been able to open three forums within local schools. Using her interest in understanding fiscal and monetary policies, Rachael wants to apply her future economics degree and work with the Kenyan government to reduce the country’s trade deficit. She believes the increased reliance on imports is the main reason Kenya is at its lowest exchange rate to date, and wants to use her degree to stabilize and grow their economy.
Although his family has struggled greatly, Trevor’s relentless pursuit for academic excellence has seen him emerging at the top every class, winning numerous awards including a full tuition and boarding scholarship to Brookhouse School. He believes in asking questions and testing assumptions and is unafraid to challenge the norm or stand alone for trying to do the seemingly impossible. He is also a professional actor and gifted writer and has published and presented original works at various poetry speaking competitions on topics like corruption and homosexuality.
His fascination with the simplest ideas in brain cognition, strategic decision making in game theory and artificial intelligence in computer science is what drives his interest in mathematics. He believes that “mathematicians, with their logical, analytical and numerical skills are the best placed to help alleviate Kenya’s dire situation.” Therefore, he hopes to pursue a degree at UBC and contribute towards a variety of areas such as mathematical modeling in biology to help find solutions for diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Originally from Sierra Leone, Sia was selected out of 1000 applicants to join the United World College (UWC) of South East Asia on a full scholarship. Since moving to UWCSEA, Sia is described as a student who has a broad international understanding, who celebrates differences and diversity, is compassionate and has a strong sense of personal responsibility.
As a strong believer in the power of education, one of Sia’s goals is to find solutions to improve the education system in her home country. She recognizes that students are unable to complete or access quality education, which she believes translates to high levels of unemployment and poverty. While it will not be an easy task, Sia is confident that she’ll meet like-minded people at UBC, who share the same vision for Sierra Leone and together will work relentlessly to improve the education system for future generations.
Michael is passionate about the community he was raised in, and wants to see it grow to the potential he believes it has. His passion is exuded in the hours he has spent volunteering as an English teacher, mentoring orphaned children and assisting in a home for the deaf. Similar to his idol Nelson Mandela, Michael thrives to replace self-interest with group interest, and uses giving back to the community as his core aspiration.
Michael has found the possibility of community development in the waterfalls near his home in Kenya. He believes that generating electricity with water gushing through power turbines, and energy harvested from the sun is what Kenya needs to look towards to solve their electricity problem. Michael poetically advocates that the light is not only needed as a source of energy, but also as a source of empowerment. With his education at UBC, Michael wants to start an NGO that builds the educational foundation in local communities to improve infrastructure, democracy and solve unemployment in the long-run.
Sabeeha is described as a “multi-dimensional and all-rounded student who performs a multiplicity of tasks with ease”. Her passion for people and community stems from her inspiration, the Aga Khan, a philanthropist and spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims. She strongly believes that coming to UBC will enrich her perception of pluralism. Her drive to be active and cognizant of what she could do to make a difference began with the research she conducted with the Global Encounters International Program. Not only did she come out of this program with a full-merit scholarship, she also found a new personal interest in women’s issues in Kenya.
She has found the importance of humanitarian and political rights, and hopes to explore her passion of world affairs and foreign policies with her degree in International Relations. Her ultimate goal is to dedicate her life to international relations, and eventually humanitarian law, to develop institutions in her home country of Kenya.
Born and raised in Kenya, Luizer worked hard to attain her full scholarship at the United World College in Freiburg, Germany. She says that she is reminded daily of the words of her mentor, Professor Wangari Maathai, which are “I will do the best I can”. Luizer aspires to work with local communities and empower them to grow sustainably.
Luizer hopes to use her degree in Environmental Science to work with farmers in Kenya to create a food production system that is both sustainable and economically beneficial. She finds great potential in renewable energy and intends on working with engineers to harvest energy. She ultimately aspires to establish a stable and high output system that relies on renewable sources of energy. Luizer looks forward to finding people with similar interests, who are ready to do all they can for their communities, as she is.
Shinina hopes to create an affordable and efficient healthcare system to help the economically disadvantaged people who don’t have the financial means to access quality healthcare. As an advocate for gender equality, Shinina launched a mentorship program for an all-female school where she shared effective study strategies in preparation for the national level exams in mathematics and physics. She refuses to believe that only males can succeed in the sciences and hopes to break this common notion in Kenya and Africa that engineering is an industry only for males.
Passionate in improving the healthcare system in Kenya, Shinina hopes to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering so she may one day be part of the designing, manufacturing and maintenance of biomedical equipment in hospitals. Shinina envisions a future of better and greater access to healthcare, especially in rural areas of Kenya and hopes to play an active role in the implementation of various medical techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging.
Emma-Claire is someone who strongly values persistence and perseverance, as her idol Nelson Mandela did. As Mandela says “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have made it or lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we led”. Emma-Claire similarly, wants to use this mindset to make a difference in the economic and community life of her country. She thrives not only to bring back her education, but to inspire others to help her in her journey towards transforming Cameroon.
Emma-Claire believes that her degree in Chemical Engineering will help improve the design process and procedure of transforming and transporting materials in her country. Cameroon is heavily dependent on the synthesis and process of chemicals and materials and with her education at UBC, Emma-Claire wants to see a real take-off in the industrialization of Cameroon.
Ashley wishes to be strong and unwavering in her beliefs, despite the criticism and oppression that women face in her community and country. Ashley aspires to be a fearless individual and hopes to address issues on early child marriage, gender-based violence and gender inequality in the workforce and government.
When Ashley’s not on the forefront fighting for women’s rights, she can be found raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, a disease that claimed the lives of her parents and grandfather. She sees it as a personal responsibility to share her story, however difficult it is, to educate her peers and encourage conversation.
Having almost been married off at a young age, Ashley recognizes the gender-based issues that young girls and women face day-to-day in communities in Zimbabwe and Africa. Traditional customs and beliefs that see males in school and females at home or married off to suitors at an early age are issues that Ashley wishes to address. She hopes to pursue a UBC degree in social sciences so she may become a voice for the voiceless and stand for social justice.
Born and raised in the Kisii Highlands of Kenya, Alvin has a strong desire to study and practice in the diverse field of economics. Alvin, known for his honesty, calmness and kindness, aspires to confront the real problems, such as corruption, poverty and illiteracy, in Kenya.
Alvin wishes to pursue a degree in Economics to equip him with the knowledge of how to use resources in his village and Kenya more efficiently. He hopes to work in the agricultural sector to find ways to economically benefit the farmers in his country, who have been blessed with fertile soils and rainfall throughout the year. Alvin strongly believes that the leadership qualities he will learn through the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program will help him become the leader he wants to be for his village and his country. He intends on changing his society, one person at a time, starting with himself.
Hailing from Kokolo, a small village in Northern Uganda, Judith is the fifth born of eight children and is the second child to pursue a university degree. Her academic excellence and involvement in her community earned her a full scholarship to the International School of Uganda (ISU). At ISU, Judith excelled and impressed her teachers with her level of maturity and her seamless transition into a rigorous IB curriculum. As an advocate for human rights, she presented on issues affecting girls in Uganda such as child marriage, lack of educational opportunities and gender inequality at a meeting attended by members of the United Nations, the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Health.
Judith has seen and personally experienced what it means to come from a society where basic needs are not met. She is especially passionate about the health care system and envisions a future where remote communities like hers will gain greater access to higher quality health services. She hopes to pursue a degree in Food, Nutrition and Health, which will equip her with the knowledge and the tools to realize her goals.
Edward believes that if he wants to see change in Uganda and in Africa as a whole, he will have to initiate it. He has worked tirelessly in his community to improve its conditions. Edward has worked with community schools to teach the children English, Math and basic Science, whilst learning how to clone computers and create interfaces to repair old computers.
At UBC, Edward is looking to ultimately pursue a career in health or medical sciences. He believes that there are many curable diseases in Uganda that aren’t being treated properly due to the lack of education and health care. He intends on reducing the doctor-patient ratio, and providing access to treatment and decent medical care in remote places in Uganda. Additionally, he hopes that by studying biochemistry, he will improve his analytical skills to eventually identify the causes of various diseases in his country. His nominators are sure that he will bring leadership and academic prowess to our community, and back to Africa upon his return.
Titani sees herself giving back to the UBC and Vancouver community through dedicating herself to student organizations that engage in volunteer work for education or health initiatives whilst on campus. Eventually when she returns to Zambia, she hopes to build off the Kucetekela Foundation to expand scholarships for students outside of Lusaka, as she wants to create leaders all over Zambia.
Titani found her passion in the health sector when she volunteered at compound clinics and saw the many challenges that were being faced. The lack of adequate medical personnel often led to premature deaths, and improper education led to breakouts of diseases like typhoid. Titani hopes that a Bachelor’s degree in Science will give her the necessary knowledge to educate her community on preventable diseases and how they can be treated. She eventually hopes to attend medical school, where she dreams of specializing in cardiovascular surgery. With this she hopes to solve the lack of specialist treatments available in Zambia, and treat patients in need in her home country.
Despite coming from a family that has faced significant hardships, Brendon has an undying thirst for knowledge and goes out of his way to seek opportunities that would help him grow intellectually. He possesses a genuine zeal for learning and is especially gifted in mathematics, as demonstrated by his first place performance at the National Mathematics Olympiad in 2015. Brendon is determined to use his academic talent to its fullest potential by making the world a better place. His teachers at Petra High School praise him for his selflessness and giving heart and are confident that he will he use his gift to help change Zimbabwe and Africa for the better.
Brendon’s goal to become an electrical engineer will allow him to realize his vision for his home country of Zimbabwe. He hopes to play an active role in the emerging development of clean electrical energy, particularly in the areas of generation and conservation, to increase productivity of Zimbabwean industries and advance its economy. He is keen to gain expert knowledge at UBC, access the top research facilities and find the energy solutions that will aid Zimbabwe and other countries alike.
Academically, Gisele is a top student who is always challenging herself intellectually by taking and excelling in the hardest combination of courses. In fact, in her senior year, Gisele and two other classmates initiated a project, which saw the installation of a solar-powered irrigation system on their school farm to help increase food production and income in a sustainable and cost-effective way. Equally as important to Gisele is her involvement with the Gashora Health Centre. She was immediately captivated by the stories she heard from the women who had suffered domestic abuse and was determined to take action. Having practiced karate for numerous years, Gisele started a karate club in the hope that it will empower women to stand together against violence. She believes that change can be made as long as we all stand as one and she plans to incorporate this way of life at UBC. With her deep interest for sustainability and renewable energy resources, Gisele hopes to pursue a degree in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC and envisions a future where Rwanda will be able to manage and effectively use sustainable environmental resources to advance the country’s economy.
Vanina is described as an outstanding learner who exhibits continuous courage and zeal to take on academic challenges. When faced with difficult concepts, she tirelessly seeks understanding by asking difficult questions and applying it to real life situations. Stemming from a deep interest in software programming, Vanina founded the Coding Club at her high school, where she partnered with various technology companies and professionals to come and share their expertise. Naturally, her love for computer science saw her emerge at the top of the class. When she’s not cracking codes and developing software programs, Vanina can be found volunteering with the Gashora Health Centre and Girl Up, a UN based organization which aims to empower girls. Passionate about computer science and the development of her home country, Vanina envisions a future where disadvantaged students will be able to access learning resources and information such as textbooks on mobile phones and home computers. She believes that a degree in computer science will equip her with the necessary skills to advance the technology industry in Rwanda, and allow her to build a software application to make educational resources more accessible. Vanina will represent Rwanda most proudly by promoting diversity and raising awareness for issues and opportunities in Africa during her time at UBC.
Above all else, Cassandra is a firm believer in the power of hope. She strives to be a beacon of hope for those who have lost it. She refuses to acknowledge the word “impossible”. As a top student in her class, she was elected prefect and was awarded a government bursary scholarship. Cassandra has been involved in a broad range of activities such as the Future Leaders Club and was a prominent member of the French Club, a singer and aspiring pianist at The Apostolic Church Ghana and a volunteer of the Reach Out Society. Cassandra’s community service and philanthropic efforts are a true testament to her desire to provide hope for those around her. Cassandra wants to use her interest and aptitude for mathematics, data analysis and economics to provide constructive financial education to the population of Ghana. She acknowledges the inevitable challenges of pursuing a career as an actuary in Ghana due to traditionalist mindsets and lack of demand. However, it is her wish to offer advice and support to people of all demographics with the hope that they can grow businesses, enjoy peace of mind and retire with confidence.
For Sally, the transition from her school in Cameroon to the world renowned African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa was a monumental leap in her academic journey. The combination of Sally’s strong sense of social awareness and natural talent for studying the sciences has shaped her into a uniquely insightful student – something that is greatly exemplified by her leadership at Agrinovation, a social enterprise aimed at providing healthy and organically grown produce to the community. Outside the classroom, Sally was a star middle blocker on her competitive volleyball team at the ALA. Sally has set tremendous goals for her country and for herself. She plans on combining her passion for change with the technical training she will receive at UBC to combat hunger, disease and improve life expectancy in her community. Her mission is to eventually build at least fifty five well-equipped research laboratories in Africa to conduct research on agriculture and pandemic research. Currently enrolled into UBC’s prestigious Faculty of Forestry, she hopes to gain technical skills that will enable her better manage forest resources back in her home country and across the world. She is also keen on the issue of sustainability and how managing resources effectively could have a tremendous impact on climate change. Her mission is to eventually set-up well-equipped labs in forest rich areas around Africa where good forest practices can be prototyped and then adapted widely.
Lemlem is both a passionate advocate and grateful beneficiary of the power of education. Her tenacity for learning paid off when she was awarded a scholarship to study at Sanford International School, where she became a top student. Lemlem ranked in the top three students at her school; and continued to pour her entirety into her studies despite having to brave a two hour commute each day in addition to her busy schoolwork schedule. Teachers have commended Lemlem for her immense talent for science and mathematics and have remarked her incredible work ethic. Lemlem also has been selected as one of the Yale Young African scholar to attend a high-intensity academic and leadership program designed for African students. Receiving this scholarship was the most meaningful inspirational moment she had where she attended different workshops, discussion lessons and seminars about issues that Africa is facing such as effect of GMO food and Foreign Aid in Africa. Lemlem was also involved with the Society for Women and Aids in Africa, as well as the Gender Club at her school. She is passionate about empowering and educating women about rights, health and freedom. Lemlem is excited to be studying Science at UBC. She hopes to continue advocating education, while directing her studies towards health, disease and medicine. Lemlem’s personal goal is to raise awareness in society to address issues in her home country of Ethiopia, like AIDS research, mortality rate, poverty and job creation.
Despite facing a number of financial and struggles throughout her schooling, Mariam’s goals for academic excellence and community service are crystal clear. Overcoming both financial and familial obstacles, Mariam earned a scholarship to study at Corona Secondary School for her brilliance and spirit. In the classroom, Mariam performed at an extremely high level, winning awards for her achievements in Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Information Technology. Before coming to UBC, Mariam was involved in her school’s social initiative: Challenge 2020, a way for young individuals to identify and address socio-economic and environmental issues in the community. Mariam organized educational seminars and presented research about sustainability, global warming and the government’s role in these issues. A Bachelor of Science degree will provide Mariam with the knowledge and skillset to pursue further studies – and eventually a career – in health and medicine. Mariam’s longtime goal is to open clinics that provide adequate healthcare for her community. She recognizes a need for change in the health care system and strives to return home to be the catalyst of this change.
Bwalya earned scholarships from both The Kucetekela Foundation and Pestalozzi International Village and finished her IB Diploma in the United Kingdom at East Sussex Coast College Hastings. Bwalya has been noted as an insightful and conscientious student, achieving top grades in higher level English Literature. Naturally, Bwalya’s strong yearning to fight for social justice has inspired her to volunteer for various organizations and causes. Bwalya has worked with the Kalikiliki Literacy Project where she taught over a hundred unschooled children basic Math, English and Science. Bwalya has also volunteered with Pestalozzi’s student program, AFRIKABA (an African- Caribbean integration organization) and the Centre for Infection Disease Research in Zambia. Bwalya believes a degree in Commerce will equip her with the analytical, networking, communication and problem-solving skills that will be essential for implementing projects and initiatives to support and empower women in her country. She wishes to become involved in leadership of organizations that have helped her and people like her such as the Kucetekela Foundation.
Brian’s academic career has been funded by a series of merit based scholarships; his work ethic and academic performance earned him a place at the International School of Uganda. Brian excelled at Chemistry and Mathematics, earning top marks for both these subjects while showing a keen interest in application and innovation. Brian also showed much interest in the realms of debate and public speaking through his involvement with the East Africa Model United Nations. He was chosen to attend a parliament meeting, where he presented a speech on the abhorrent issue of infant sacrifice, a cause for which he has shown passionate activism. Brian was a leader in a tree-planting initiative at his school, as well as a break-dancer and mural artist. Brian’s wish to pursue a degree in Computer Science and Economics is indicative of his desire to provide solutions and motivation for his community. He believes that development is possible through sound leadership, education and resource management. Brian will work to end the poverty cycle in Uganda by implementing strategies for energy conservation, agricultural innovation and sustainability.
In the classroom, Protus has demonstrated great knowledge and promise in Sciences, Mathematics and Economics. He was given an opportunity to intern at Equity Bank-Kenya as a result of his extraordinary performance where he developed skills in economics, finance and client relations in the work environment. As a result, Protus is deeply passionate about pursuing studies in economics. He was also an active participant in Freedom From Hunger Walk where he had the opportunity to fight chronic hunger in Kenya. He mentored high school graduates at Equity African Leaders Program (EALP) before coming to UBC. It is Protus’ belief that underprivileged regions in Kenya do not lack potential, but rather people. He hopes to study micro-finance in order to devise long lasting solutions to poverty. He believes in using men and women to their fullest potential and reducing the trepidation and uncertainties of cash management and small businesses. He is also excited about the prospect of collaboration and recognizes the need for camaraderie and teamwork in a project like this.
Keith earned a scholarship at the Harare International School to complete an IB Diploma. Keith has shown talent in multiple areas of academic study, earning praises for both his work in the sciences and humanities. Keith’s desire for community service exceeds the walls of his school. As a result of the family struggles in his adolescence, Keith was inspired to become a prominent member of the Interact Club, a local chapter of the Rotary Club. As treasurer, he took on the responsibility of financial allocation and leadership, and focused particularly on fundraising efforts and charity projects. A Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering will equip Keith with the skills to continue serving the people of his country. As a well-rounded individual, there is no doubt that Keith will take a cross-disciplinary, multi-faceted approach at addressing community issues such as hunger, shelter, medical services and economics. Keith’s goal is to provide solutions for Zimbabwe to optimize their resources and make sustainable economic decisions that will benefit the land and people.
In the classroom, Prudence has been praised and rewarded for her elite academic achievements. In addition to her prowess in physics and math, she has a special interest in finance and accounting studies. She has been known to take leadership in class discussions and assume the role of a mentor to her peers. Prudence was a leader in both the Writers Club and Science Club at her school. In addition to event coordination and financial planning, Prudence took the time to encourage fellow members of these groups to improve their skills. Prudence has served as a coordinator for the Young Christian Society which focused on outreach and service events such as educating and feeding children from underprivileged areas. Prudence believes that Civil Engineering will allow her to combine her academic interests with her vision for the community. She is determined to use her expertise to improve physical surroundings create opportunities for economic and social improvement in her home country. She is also focused on a goal to further her knowledge of financial management, an area of interest she also hopes to incorporate into her hopes for the Uganda’s future.
Throughout the completion of her IB Diploma, Shazmeen has excelled in Biology, earning top grades in the subject. Shazmeen also has a gift for Language, Composition and Literature and she is an avid debater and has been recognized as an outstanding public speaker. Beyond the realms of academia, Shazmeen has shown significant commitment to health and community related initiatives. She was he co-organizer of the “Fresh Juice for Fresh Paint” Campaign, an event at which she sold fresh juice to raise awareness and funds for the bad living conditions of orphanages around the city. Shazmeen was also a frequent volunteer at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute to assist kitchen staff in packing and delivering meals to patients. Shazmeen’s love for her community will be a driving force as she pursues her career in Health and Nutrition. Shazmeen wants to bring about change in neglected areas like her birthplace of Newala – a small district in south Tanzania – by creating awareness to help the locals understand the importance of a balanced diet. She envisions working in a medical institution, implementing nutritional education programs and working in the Ministry of Health of Tanzania to impact food laws.
Agnes has been praised for her intellectual curiosity and academic integrity and has excelled in a variety of subjects: English, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Outside the classroom, Agnes served as a mentor with Wings to Fly, an organization which is part of the Equity Group Foundation. Agnes was inspired and motivated by her troubled past to provide academic and emotional support to those in difficult situations similar to her own. In addition, Agnes was a volunteer at her church and was involved with their outreach program for orphaned children with HIV/AIDS. Besides her volunteer endeavors, Agnes has shown interest and aptitude for extra-curricular science projects, athletics and environmental work. Agnes is well aware of Kenya’s challenges in the realm of technological development. She cites the 2013 election – which saw an attempted implantation of an electronic voting system – as a prime example of these challenges. Agnes hopes to use the expertise gained from a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science to move Kenya into the right direction. She plans to work for the Kenyan government to advocate and facilitate technological growth. She is excited at the opportunity to educate young computer scientists in Kenya and provide them with wholesome and applicable instruction.
Neema has proven to be a motivated, curious and diligent student. As a student at St Mary’s School, Nairobi, she emerged as the top student of her International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) graduating class with top marks in Economics, Physics and Environmental Systems and Societies. During her time at St. Mary’s, Neema was an avid participant in many extra-curricular activities including numerous volunteer efforts with children’s’ homes in and out of Nairobi as well as clubs such theatre where she received awards for her performance and commitment and the East Africa Model United Nations where she served as the Senior Chairperson for the Ecology Committee. In her senior year, she assumed the role of Head Girl in her school and exhibited gracious and valuable leadership and mentorship to her peers, which she credits as having taught her the value of service. Passionate about educating ‘tomorrows generation’, she also worked as an intern with EducationUSA- US Embassy Nairobi, under their program to help students from underprivileged backgrounds apply to university. It is clear by her interests that Neema has the desire to apply her educational knowledge into a career that serves her community. A Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics will provide her with the knowledge and skillset to pursue a career that serves her community in a variety of ways. She hopes to work with engineers to determine costs and viability of sustainable energy sources with the aim of increasing efficiency and encouraging rural electrification. She is also eager to empower women in her community to rise up and plans on leading by example.
As a student, Sharon won a full scholarship to attend Harare International School, from which she earned her IB Diploma and was named Salutatorian. During the IB program, Sharon showed immense critical thinking and writing skills especially in business management which she takes great interest. Taking advantage of her time at Harare, Sharon immersed herself in the extra-curricular activities. Sharon wrote for her school newspaper and served as treasurer of the student council. Sharon has been heavily involved in service for the disabled, elderly and underprivileged. She has represented her school in the National Junior Parliament and served as President of the Interact Club receiving an Outstanding Service Award. At UBC, Sharon is enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program with the aim to acquire business management knowledge to work locally to develop strategies for economic growth, and in particular, empower young women in business through the South African Development Community. She wants to focus on job creation for women in her region and devise a program to provide loans for female entrepreneurs
Akech’s excellent academic performance earned her a Constituency Bursary to attend the Alliance Girls School in Kenya. As straight-A student, she was consistently ranked among the top students throughout her four years at secondary school, and sees her attendance at UBC as a symbol of hope for girls like herself, who were raised in slums and faced many barriers to education. Akech’s extra-curricular record reflects her passion for helping her community. She was a member of the Akinah organization, comprised of 20 girls, whose main focus is to collect materials from members of the community to donate to a local children’s home. She was an active member of the Kenya Red Cross Society, where she participated in educating her community on disaster management and aversion, and helped to provide shelter and clothing to people living in Kenya’s slums. Akech plans to study Economics, and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at UBC.
Eddie Amaitum strongly believes that Africa’s youth are key to finding solutions to some of the continent’s pressing challenges and must actively be engaged in its transformation. Seeking to empower other youth, he co-published a book titled Glow Within, and founded Achieve Uganda, a community program focused on supporting underprivileged young people through entrepreneurship. Under Eddie’s leadership, Achieve Uganda has expanded to the entire community, with program alumni setting up businesses and taking on community leadership roles. He is also deeply passionate about entrepreneurship, education and the environment. While attending St. Maria Goretti Secondary School in Mpigi, Uganda, Eddie volunteered extensively, spearheading the “Go Green Project” which focused on tree planting as a conservation strategy, and taking on a peer counselling role that included HIV/AIDS prevention and substance abuse. He hopes to set up a company to contribute to his country’s economy and support youth through job creation and skills-building. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia.
Ani has grown up in Nigeria, and believes that “there is no greater service than that to a fellow human.” As a member of Wavecrest Study Centre for Girls and an active participant in her school’s annual holiday charity projects, she visited hospital patients to assist in their daily care, and travelled to impoverished neighbourhoods to provide health products and seminars on hygiene and healthy living. She has an outstanding academic track record, and was the first student in the history of Rainbow College to score the highest possible score of A1 in English Language, as well as her other courses across Arts and Science. She served as Head Girl, and earned the title of valedictorian in 2009-10. Having gained a deeper understanding of economics as an intern at ARM Pensions in Lagos, she believes that poverty must be tackled with unprejudiced social, political, and economic policies and principles. She hopes to become an economist focused on issues of poverty and inequalities not only in Nigeria, but throughout Africa, impacting the rest of the world. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at UBC.
Joseph is a graduate of Chizongwe Technical Secondary School in Zambia. His keen interest in forestry and agriculture comes from his experience working to improve his family’s farm yields, as well as working together with members of his village to improve safety and quality of living, especially in the face of challenges posed by heavy rains. He has worked as a Peer Educator focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention education, and organized events for the local community, including inviting doctors to lead seminars in his village. His long-term career goals are to be part of the Zambia Forest Management Board to help improve the management of precious yet limited forestry resources through sustainable development as a key to poverty reduction, enhancing prosperity, and protecting our planet. After researching UBC’s initiatives in Africa, he feels that pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forestry at UBC will be an excellent step in achieving his goals.
Libia is a graduate of Liquidnet High School at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Rwanda. A self-described curious person, he possesses an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, from academics to agriculture, world-famous natural sites and human-made structures. Dedicated to sharing his love of learning, Libia volunteered in his community to teach English to primary school students. He was drawn to UBC because of its excellence in multidisciplinary research, as his own experience with subsistence farming in Rwanda has emphasized the connections between agriculture, malnutrition, economic inflation, and international relations. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at UBC, with a particular interest in economics.
Fundamentally driven by the belief that “There is simply no greater, nobler purpose to science than the preservation of life”; Juma has been fascinated with Health sciences and research since childhood. He began conducting his own research on elementary Microbiology and Geology as a hobby. Later on at St Mary’s College Kisubi, he become involved in the Science and Technology Innovations Challenge in his home country of Uganda. Responding to needs in his own community, he designed an artificially intelligent robotics project (HYDRA 256) that focused on curbing water-borne diseases and solving other water-related issues. Academically driven, he emerged as the top student in O and A Levels while attending St Mary’s College Kisubi, and regularly wrote informative health articles for the school’s magazine. He looks forward to studying in an internationally renowned institution, stating that UBC’s outstanding facilities are only matched by his own enthusiasm for innovation, research, and overall passion for science. Juma is pursuing a Bachelor of Science, focussing on Microbiology and Immunology with the ultimate goal of one day becoming a doctor.
Akua is a graduate of Holy Child High School in Ghana. A talented athlete, sports have always been an important part of Akua’s life, especially football. Keen to share her passion with her community in high school, she formed a sports committee that focused on inclusion and participation, where everyone was welcome to come out and play for fun. Akua is highly involved in her religious community, and volunteered to teach reading classes to children with the goal of supporting them in feeling comfortable reading out loud during church events, and at her community library to encourage people in her community to cultivate the habit of reading. She also enjoys volunteering her time to teach mathematics to younger children, and believes her passion for math will pave the road to her success in economics. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at UBC, and hopes to contribute to Ghana’s future as a trained Economist.
Scotch graduated from Kisumu Girl’s High School in Kenya, where she spent much of her spare time volunteering with children at the orphanage, a place where she feels most at home. Her passion for community involvement has led her to work with the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the registration of voters during the general election process. She was highly involved with the March 2013 Kenyan Elections where she registered voters, made registration cards, delivered daily reports, and actively encouraged everyone to participate in the election process. Scotch is passionate about business and entrepreneurship, and her long-term career goals are to become a finance executive and run her own business. She acknowledges the difficulties of the environment where she grew up, and is confident that her UBC education will allow her to become an excellent entrepreneur, capable of identifying and filling market gaps while working closely with a network of business partners. Scotch is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce at UBC, and is looking forward to majoring in Finance.
Retsepile won a competitive scholarship to study at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland. She has a great passion for community service, and has been actively involved in initiatives to support the people around her, including the Community Entrepreneurship Development Club, where she offered one-on-one support with a community member in order to establish a successful market. Retsepile is interested in studying Mining Engineering at UBC, as improving environmental outcomes of mining processes is one of her greatest values. She hopes to one day start her own company in Lesotho, where she can contribute to her country’s economy and improve the current standards of living. She is also committed to creating volunteering opportunities for youth in her local community, as she believes there is nothing more rewarding. Retsepile is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science at UBC.
Mercy graduated from Kapsabet Girl’s High School in Kenya. Passionate about nutrition and education, she volunteered as a nutritionist at her local hospital where she worked closely with malnourished patients especially children from her local community. She prescribed nutritious foods to help boost their immune systems, provided advice on healthy eating habits, and worked with patients who struggled with diabetes and other nutrition-related problems. Mercy’s long-term goal is to reduce the high infant mortality rate in her community, and she has worked to provide information to mothers from around Kenya on breastfeeding practices, encouraging them to participate and learn about the short- and long-term benefits of breastfeeding their babies and providing information on nutritious foods that they can feed their children, with the belief that knowledge is the best way to reduce the mortality rate of children less than five years of age. She hopes to establish her own NGO that will focus on providing nutrition information to mothers in a “door to door” approach to improve accessibility to health care and education, because she noticed that many mothers brought their children to the hospital when it was too late. Mercy is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition and Health.
Abenezer comes from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. While attending government school, he scored 99% in grade 8 and also straight A’s in grade 10 in Ethiopia’s national examinations, and continued to rank at the top of his class until he won one of three competitive scholarships to Sandford International School and completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). He places great value in passing on his knowledge of Mathematics, Science, and English grammar to underprivileged students, and volunteered to teach younger secondary school students three times a week in the public school system. Abenezer’s passion for science translates to an avid interest in technology, and after being heavily involved in science competitions for the past four years, he aspires to become an Engineer and take action to address the technology problems that exist in Ethiopia and other neighbouring countries. He believes that the knowledge he acquires at UBC will be crucial for his professional growth, and looks forward to sharing his learning while working with other engineers in the Sub-Saharan region. Abenezer is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science at UBC.
Johnston comes from Kilifi, a coastal town north of Mombasa, Kenya. Has been pursuing Bachelor of commerce, specializing in Business Technology Management and Accounting, at the UBC Sauder School of Business. During his time at UBC, he has participated in the Sauder Social Entrepreneurship (SSE) Program – a four-week program aimed at imparting fundamentals of entrepreneurship to youth living in the slums of Kibera and Mathare in Kenya.
He plans to utilize his background in commerce to become a serial entrepreneur and help fellow young people develop an entrepreneurial culture. He strongly believes that entrepreneurship will empower people living in disadvantaged conditions to seek out opportunities that will enable them to be financially free, hence reduce poverty in the country. This will eventually transform the economy by steering it towards more equitable growth.
He has also just completed an internship at the Competition Authority of Kenya, a government body mandated to ensure market efficiency and consumer protection in the country. Outside of school, he enjoys running and playing soccer to stay fit and healthy. He has been involved with UBC Intermural and is a long time member of the Africa Awareness Chiefs soccer team.
After graduation, Johnston plans to work for at least two years before joining graduate school to pursue an MBA program
Tamara comes from the Maru-a-Pula (MaP) school in Botswana, where she completed her secondary education with the support of the renowned Allan Gray Orbis scholarship. Tamara’s values lie in helping her community work together to improve their quality of life. She has exhibited great leadership in school and community initiatives including the MaP recycling team’s efforts to promote a healthier campus, and the “Eduvolunteers” team to tutor students in government-assisted secondary schools. Tamara has given back to her school as a Teacher’s Aide in the Science department and has been commended for her maturity, sincerity and reliability. She believes that “Africa needs innovative and pro-active ‘change-agents’ to overcome its challenges” and seeks to study Public Health to contribute to her country. At UBC, Tamara is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Systems.
Brian is in his final year studying Electrical Engineering and Commerce. At UBC he has been involved in student leadership as the president of the Africa Awareness Initiative, a student run organization at UBC that promotes inclusive dialogue about Africa on campus; as well as a Community Animator at the Simon K Y Lee Global Lounge, a space on campus that facilitates dialogue and collaboration among globally minded student groups. In addition, he is the Technology Co-chair at the UBC African Business Club, another student led organization that creates a platform for industry professionals and students to discuss enterprise on the African Continent. Brian is also involved in undergraduate research and some of his notable work includes a project aiming to make assistive hearing technologies more accessible and affordable; this research received the UBC International Service Learning award, and was a finalist for the Canada-wide 2016 Sunnybrook undergraduate research prize. As a student researcher at the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory at UBC, he is currently studying the use of Solar Photo Voltaic technology in East Africa. Brian also speaks five languages and has a keen interest in effecting social change through entrepreneurship, and using engineering solutions.
Patrick is a motivated and hardworking individual, who, as a member of the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, completed his secondary education with courage, resilience and determination, before coming to UBC. He has been heavily involved in a number of voluntary initiatives that seek to improve the conditions of his community. In high school, he was part of a program called “TIKKUN OLAM”, Hebrew for “Heal the World,” where he helped to secure food, shelter and life insurance for the most vulnerable members of the district. Patrick has continued to support his community through initiatives such as “One Laptop per Child” that teaches children how to use laptops, and “One Acre Fund” that helps farmers increase their yield. After graduation in Bachelor of Science in Land & Food Systems, Patrick will go back to Rwanda to give back all he learned from his time at UBC to his country by working with local farmers as a way to fight hunger and malnutrition.
Teboho is a determined and highly gifted individual, and one of the top students of the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) from Lesotho. He has exhibited high levels of dedication to his academics and is a natural thinker and problem solver. Teboho has been able to apply his interest in chemistry to increase awareness of how the environment and climatic changes affect local farming. He has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture in setting up farming workshops for different communities, and is pursuing Chemical Engineering to expand on his efforts to give back to his country. Teboho believes that small contributions can have major impacts on someone’s life, and dedicates his free time to volunteering at a local orphanage.
Alfred is a graduate of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Growing up in one of the remote villages of Ghana, he experienced first-hand the effects of resource degradation and the need to conserve natural forest and water resources. This experience influenced Alfred to undertake an undergraduate degree in Forest Resource Technology with a specialization in Land Reclamation and Rehabilitation at a time when most students in Ghana were not interested in forestry. He has professional experience from the AngloGold Ashanti Mine and Forest Service Division, Ghana. Alfred has volunteered for five years as a youth leader and a peer counselor at KNUST. He also served as a Public Relation Officer of the counseling group, judicial committee member and the General Co-coordinator of a campus fellowship during his schools at KNUST. Alfred is co- founder of the Land Reclamation and Environmental Conservation Society which focuses on coordinating the linkage in academia, industry and community to solve complex environmental challenges in Ghana. He has now completed a Masters of Land & Water Systems at the University of British Columbia, Alfred’s career goal is to join the professoriate rank in academia and to be an environmental advocate where he can impart his knowledge and train others to achieve effective environmental management in Ghana.
Jonathan has been dedicated to natural resources management since he was a child. Hard working and forward-thinking, he went above and beyond to finish high school and develop a strong foundation for his academic career. To fund his post-secondary education, he worked in the informal timber sector of Ghana – an experience that sparked his strong passion for stopping illegal timber trade in Ghana. Jonathan continued to successfully master two highly complex duties: striving for outstanding outcomes within his undergraduate studies while working to support himself and dependent family members. His efforts paid off and he excelled academically. In 2012 he earned his BSc in Natural Resource Management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. His outstanding undergraduate thesis was awarded with the Tropenbos International Scholarship. Jonathan is constantly working on increasing his knowledge and the professional skills that will enable him to effectively contribute to natural resources management and policy formulation with a strong focus on forestry in his home country. His experience working as a researcher and project officer for Tropenbos International, his work as an assistant technical officer at the forestry commission branch office in Accra, and his experience working for mining companies in Ghana in combination with graduate studies and his passion for the forest form the perfect basis for his long-term success. Currently, Jonathan is enrolled in a Master of Sustainable Forest Management at UBC and jointly owns a data analysis consult (JONABI data analysis) with his friend back in Ghana.
Priscilla is aspiring for a lecturing and consultancy career, and believes that the Master in International Forestry program will provide her with the platform she needs to study and acquire valuable skills. Having understood the importance of healthy forest ecosystems in the protection and conservation of biodiversity, Priscilla has decided to direct her interest to the relations between food security, land tenure management and natural resources management. In the process of developing herself as a forest governance and policy expert, Priscilla has focused her work on building public awareness on conservation issues in most parts of Ghana, working closely with the Forestry Commission of Ghana. As the former Deputy Sponsorship Chairperson for Renewable Natural Resources Students Association, she has addressed conservation and conflict issues through education and awareness creation. Priscilla has a great love for nature and is excited to learn more about the diverse and rare species of plants found at UBC’s Center for Plant Research. She also has a love for sports, especially soccer and volleyball.
Maureen grew up along with her siblings on a small farm in Nyahururu, Kenya. Based on her academic success, she was admitted to the Alliance Girls’ High School, a boarding school 20 km outside of Nairobi. She later received the Kenyan Scholar Award to attend St Lawrence University in New York, where she earned a degree in Economics with a minor in Mathematics. Her own life experiences in the US and Kenya inspired her to be actively involved in the African Students’ Union, where she worked on multiple projects, including helping to market Ajiri Tea, a non-profit organization in Kenya managed by women. She was drawn to UBC because of the academic opportunities related to her interests in food and resource economic policy, as well as the student organizations and vibrant campus community. Her long-term career goals include working for organizations that specialize in policy development and analysis to facilitate economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is pursuing a Masters in Food and Resource Economics in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC.
Isaac is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar pursuing a Master’s Degree in Food and Resource Economics at the University of British Columbia. He holds bachelor of Science Honors degree in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe. Before coming to UBC, Isaac worked for Youth Career Development Zimbabwe as Programs Manager where he worked with disadvantaged youth through career guidance and development. Isaac is also deeply involved with the African Youth Movement, a pan-Africanist action-oriented, social movement that strives for the development, active participation and leadership of African youth in the fight for social justice. As the facilitator for the Employment and Entrepreneurship Committee, Isaac is involved in coming up with practical solutions through dialogue and active consultation with youth across Africa. He hopes to engage key policy makers in Africa and beyond over employment and entrepreneurship. As a Global Youth Ambassador for Education for A World At school, a United Nations Education Global initiative, he is a passionate advocate for universal access to education. A World At School’s target is to ensure access to education for the more than 57 million young people currently without. He was also recently nominated as a Humanitarian Ambassador for Youth for Humanity where he is deeply involved in championing for education rights for children in Pakistan and other Asian countries.
Patrice holds a professional Masters degree in Forest Sciences with a specialization in Auditing and Forest Certification from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon. He has worked as a Program Director in a non-profit organization called APECAM focused on forest and environmental programs and projects. He has also worked with Cameroon Red Cross for ten years where he was a first-aid trainer and Secretary General of a sub-divisional committee in Yaoundé.Between 2010 and 2013, he did consultations in Central Africa on policies and institutional evolution in the forest and environment sector, on forest management, forest and climate change adaptation, and reduction of GHG emission from all land use with international forestry organizations such as CIFOR and ICRAF. Most recently, Patrice has been working assessing a community’s vulnerability and their capacities to reduce disaster risk. Patrice is fluent in both English and French, and travelled to Switzerland in 2011 as a Cameroon Red Cross delegate to participate in the International Youth Workshop on Asylum, Exclusion, and Immigration. He has also been supported by the NEPAD Agency and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) for scientific communication on climate change in South Africa and Senegal. He is presently a MasterCard Foundation Graduate Scholar in the Faculty of Forestry’s Masters of Sustainable Forest Management at the University of British Columbia where he is acquiring high level training on Sustainable Forest Management.
As a child, Monica was fascinated by nature and understood the fact that forests play a crucial role in the earth’s survival and existence; as a result, it became Monica’s dream to engage in forestry conservation in Uganda. Her undergraduate research project was on the population dynamics of the invasive paper mulberry tree, Broussonetia papyrifera, in Uganda’s largest forest reserve, Budongo Forest. Together with her colleagues, she organized charity collections for communities living around the Budongo Forest. Monica also conducted conservation education in the communities around Budongo Forest encouraging the masses not to kill the wild animals, including chimpanzees when they raid farmers’ crops. She will apply her knowledge and understanding of the tropical forests, as well as their conservation and sustainable utilization, without forgetting forest-dependent communities. Monica is interested in learning more about sustainable forest management, and hopes that her graduate degree in MSFM at UBC helps her to realize this goal.
Alesia is a highly motivated, committed and enthusiastic young lady from Ghana. Being a firm believer in giving back to her society, Alesia devoted herself to community service by joining the Jesse-Rhodes Foundation in creating awareness on hygiene and sanitation, teenage pregnancies, family planning and HIV/AIDS in rural communities in Ghana after completing High School. The program had a profound impact on her as she continues to remain a lifelong mentor to young girls in these communities. During her undergraduate degree at KNUST, she was the President of the Women in Conservation, a group of young women committed to Resource Conservation in Ghana. With the opportunity to study to study Forestry in Finland during her student exchange period, Alesia realized the importance and potential of forest fringe communities in achieving sustainable forest management in developing countries. Her ultimate career goal is to work in academia as a Professor and a Professional Forester on successful completion of her MSFM degree at UBC. For her PHD studies, she hopes to pursue an interdisciplinary research in Natural Resources Management. Alesia has a soft spot for acting and theater works and also loves to write and blog in her free time.
Ally is the youngest of three brothers and one sister, and has overcome many challenges in his life, including the 1994 Rwandan genocide, to be here. Ally holds a BSc (with honours) in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness from the National University of Rwanda. In 2010, Ally founded the Rwanda Agricultural University Students Union (RWAUSU) with more than 1000 members countrywide. One of the Union’s core activities is to educate farmers about how to practice market-oriented farming and crop production. Now that he has completed his MFRE degree he intends on returning to Rwanda. His interests focus broadly in agribusiness and smallholder farmers. Ally has a particular interest in value chain analysis for improved farmer incomes, employment opportunities and food security. Ally aspires to contribute to the development of his country by creating a platform that will empower and engage youth to utilize Agri-preneurship (mixture of entrepreneurship and agriculture) which will subsequently tackle rural poverty and youth unemployment issues in Rwanda. He is fluent in English, French and intermediate Turkish and beginner Arabic.
Blooming is a MasterCard Scholarship recipient and a full time MBA student at the University of British Columbia – Sauder School of Business. She is the Founder of Africa Blooms Co., an online retail store that merchandises products proudly made in Africa locally and globally (www.africablooms.com). Blooming believes that with hard work, persistence and the right partners, investors, and team, together we can positively change the story of the African continent locally and internationally…we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to believe in and celebrate Africa. Blooming is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with a dual degree in Economics & Accounting. Prior to starting her MBA program she worked at MFM – Nigeria as an Internal Auditor and at CNA Insurance, headquartered in Chicago as an Accounting Rotational Business Associate with primary focus on General & Financial Reporting, Accounting Control & Support and Reinsurance. During her undergraduate program she interned at Ernst & Young – Chicago and Midway AG Company – Chicago. As an undergraduate, she excelled academically, and in 2011 she founded the Global Instrument of Change Initiative, a non-profit organization that assists immigrants with finding education and employment opportunities. She organized a conference for over 100 attendees from the US and UK, where students had the opportunity to learn firsthand from their peers as well as business executives. In addition to her formal education, Blooming reads extensively about other leaders working to change the world, and has travelled across the US to attend events and conferences that continue to motivate and inspire her. Her long term goal is to positively change the African conversation through her group of companies on the African continents.