This summer, I spent 10 weeks working with Dr. Krystal Strong, in the Graduate School of Education. I assisted in compiling a database of protests incidents which have occurred in African Universities between 2000 and 2018, as well as a database of Youth Leadership programs catered to African Students. Both projects appealed to me, for quite a few reasons: As an African university student, I was part of the demographic I was researching; especially since I consider myself an emerging leader. This allowed me to gain a unique perspective on, and great interest in the subject matter.
It was interesting to learn that despite the issues that plague African countries, apathy is not one of them. I was able to witness how citizens: students, teachers, and parents, involved themselves in pertinent development issues, and not just issues related to schools. In Chad, for example, students protested austerity measures proposed by the Chadian government which would mean that their teachers would be paid less. There are also hundreds of opportunities open to emerging African leaders to pursue training and skills acquisition in various places around the world- with leadership meaning different things in different parts of the world.
Being a part of this project was quite interesting since it was a far cry from my engineering major. However, participating in a project with far reaching applications was a breath of fresh air, as I felt like I was participating in a project that has the potential to make a true impact in people’s lives.