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Emmanuel Murairi ’18: Profile of a Self-Taught Technology Entrepreneur

When Emmanuel Murairi first arrived at African Leadership Academy in September 2018, he was instantly recognizable, with his trusted accomplice often found balanced on his chin and its accompanying appendage in his right hand. Emmanuel’s dexterity with the violin quickly earned him a reputation on campus, as he performed at several campus events ranging from the weekly all-community Assembly to the annual Taalu welcoming ceremony. Emmanuel had learned to play the violin as part of a church orchestra in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and it formed an essential part of his personality. However, by the time he graduated from ALA in June 2020, he had become known for something entirely different – he was the “IT guy”.

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Naira Abdula ’14 Graduates from Skidmore College with Seven Top Awards

Before her graduation ceremony from Skidmore College was unfortunately curtailed as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Naira Abdula ’14 from Mozambique was scheduled to be one of the student speakers at the ceremony. It would have been a fitting conclusion to her momentous journey at the College where she was graduating with seven top awards and a double major in Economics and Business Management. Coming from Mozambique, Naira’s early ambition was to be an Engineer, but she references the Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum at African Leadership Academy as her introduction to the world of practical business, with modules on business models, profit making and strategy being particularly influential in her decision on undergraduate study. She applied to Skidmore College in New York because of the opportunity to study Business Management.

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Tolu Ogunlowo

Tolu Ogunlowo ‘14 Builds Hybrid Race Car for Senior Capstone Project at Notre Dame

Musodiq Tolu Ogunlowo ‘14 graduates from the University of Notre Dame after completing his Capstone Project within the school’s Formula Hybrid racing program. Tolu, who hails from Lagos, Nigeria, came into Notre Dame already knowing that he wanted to study Electrical Engineering. He credits ALA for this strong sense of purpose, even as a first year university student. He says that the Academy taught him that, “when you’re trying to decide what you want to do with your career, think about… how can you merge your interests and your skills with a challenge that will actually impact the lives of a lot of people?.” This lesson is what helped Tolu narrow his Electrical Engineering studies to focus on renewable energy.

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Abii-Tah Bih ‘14 Elected Student Body President at Michigan State University.

African Leadership Academy alumnae, Abii-Tah Bih ‘14, from Cameroon, was elected by The 57th General Assembly of the Associated Students of Michigan State University (MSU) to be the new Undergraduate Student Body President for the 2020-21 academic year. Abii-Tah most recently served as a representative in the General Assembly, for the James Madison College, and has served as chair of the cultural exchange committee and an ASMSU representative in the University Council.

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Oyindamola Adefisayo ’08: Scientific Research is Key to Ending COVID-19

Oyindamola Adefisayo ’08, currently doing her Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis at The Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, speaks on the COVID-19 pandemic and how scientific research can contribute towards finding a cure. In analyzing the current pandemic, Oyindamola said, “The success of SARS-CoV-2 as a pathogen leading to a pandemic is based on the fact that it is newly emerged, highly infectious but not extremely lethal especially when compared to other viral infections such as Ebola. These characteristics have led to governments and scientists having to play catch-up as the full impact of the virus only started to become apparent after it had already established a widespread infection across the globe.”

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Tanzanian Entrepreneur, Erick Laizer ’19 Develops Phone-Operated Smoke Detector and Security System

After noticing a big problem with fires, electric shocks, and house break-ins in his community in Arusha, Tanzania, first-year student Erick Simon Laizer ’19 decided to do something about it. Following a joint effort with his former classmate in 2015, the two problem solvers designed a unique smoke detector that connects to mobile networks to send automatic alerts to emergency response units within five seconds. For Erick, ALA has provided him with the opportunity to think even more deeply about his business and how he can strengthen it. “ALA was my number one choice because I have always loved how the school brings students from different countries together and having them focus on their entrepreneurial skills.

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Maxwell Simba ’19: From Nairobi to Johannesburg via Hollywood

Growing up in small agricultural town called Kitali in northern Rift Valley, Kenya, Maxwell Simba discovered from a young age that that he had a passion for the arts, specifically acting. Today at African Leadership Academy, Maxwell is often found not only flexing his acting muscles with his peers in the Ubuntu Theatre Troupe on campus but also behind the camera documenting events as he aspires to pursue a path in film directing.

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The Power of Productive Internships: Okongo Kinyanjui ’14’s TED Journey

Okong’o Kinyanjui has a true passion for TED and the TED Fellows program. Originally from Kenya and currently in his final year of studies at Quest University in Canada, he first interned with TED in 2017. As a Bezos Scholar, and thanks to the partnership between the Bezos Family Foundation and African Leadership Academy, Okong’o was selected to intern at the TED Global conference that took place in Arusha, Tanzania in 2017.

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Noemi Duker ‘17 Wins Business Case Competition with Oberlin College

Speaking about her decision to participate in the competition, Noemi said, “I asked myself, ‘If I were not at ALA would I still have raised my hand and wanted to go for this?’ and I don’t think I would have….I’ve heard the founders of the school saying ‘We should always try to do the hard things and I kept that in mind.”

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Mareme Dieng ’13 Combines College with Leadership Role in Silicon Valley

Mareme Dieng ’13 from Senegal, is combining a rigorous schedule as a college Senior with a prestigious role as Head of International Partnerships and Relations at Draper University. As her…

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Award-Winning Entrepreneur Amy Wanday ’15, Shaping the Future of Sports in Africa

“My mission in life is to ensure that no other African child with a love for sport feels like they cannot pursue it in the industry. I also aim to…

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Tafadzwa Matika ‘10 Leading Change through Public Health and Agriculture

Tafadzwa Matika ’10 always had a passion for pursuing a career in Public Health, but he could hardly imagine combining this journey with a concurrent career path through agriculture. After…

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Spencer Horne ’08’s Cloudline Soars to Quartz Africa Innovators List 2019

This past month has seen ALA alumnus Spencer Horne’s innovative logistics company, Cloudline, win big. The revolutionary startup not only earned Spencer a spot on this year’s Quartz Africa Innovators List but was also announced the winner of Santam’s Safety Ideas Challenge – walking away with R100 000 in incubator funding and seed capital.

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Júlia Agudogo ’11 Creates a Low-Cost Cervical Cancer Screening Tool

As a Biomedical Engineering student at Duke University, Júlia Sroda Agudogo ’11 designed a low-cost non-invasive cervical screening tool for women, earning first place at the Rice 360 Global Health Design Competition. She has now taken this further as part of the core founding team that envisioned, created, and runs The Calla Campaign that recently designed and optimized a novel cervical visualization device, called a Callascope Inserter, for use in low-resource settings.

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Liberia’s President Commissions Changemakers Village, Founded by Marvin Tarawally ’11 and James Kiawoin ’08

Liberian President, George Weah emphasized the importance of education for Liberia’s development at the official launch of SMART Liberia’s Changemakers Village earlier this year, providing a stamp of approval for Marvin Tarawally ’11, James Kiawoin ’08 and their team who co-founded SMART Liberia to provide much needed support for students and entrepreneurs in Liberia. Since its founding, the organization has worked with over 25 schools and directly impacted over 500 students.

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Tapiwa Gambura ’18 announced as winner of the Jozi Film Festival

When ALA student Tapiwa Gambura purchased her very first camera in November 2018, she never imagined that less than a year later she would be the winner of a major film festival. Nevertheless, on October 6th, Tapiwa celebrated as she received a $2,500 check for winning the Jozi Film Festival and Discovery Network’s “Real Stories By Real People” award with her short film, Redefining the Road.

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Beauclaire Mbanya ’14 Receives $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace Grant

Junior Beauclaire Mbanya (’14), currently studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester, was recently awarded a Davis Project for Peace grant for his program “Togetherness for Peace”, which he hosted in his hometown of Douala, Cameroon.

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Deepshikha Parmessur ’13 appointed Prime Minister of Mauritius National Youth Parliament

Deepshikha Parmessur (’13), was recently appointed Prime Minister at the Mauritius National Youth Parliament, becoming the first female holder of the office, and adding a prominent layer to her growing profile in the public sector.

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Deborah Alongi ’14: Using Education to Build Communities in Kinshasa, DRC

When ALA alumnus Deborah Alongi ’14 boarded a plane home to Kinshasa after completing her two-year diploma at African Leadership Academy, she was not sure what awaited her as she…

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Tanatsei Gambura ’17 Wins Prestigious Diana Award for Social Impact Work

ALA alumnus Tanatsei Gambura ’17 was recently named a Diana Award recipient for her crucial work with 25 May Movement – a creative collective that she founded at the age…

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