Associate Professor Nanette Veilleux has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to teach computer engineering at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Rwanda.
Veilleux was inspired by President Kagame's Compton Series lecture at MIT, where he noted that Rwanda could 'leap frog' technology used in countries with more infrastructure.
Instead of building landlines and installing desktops, Rwanda can move right to cell towers and wireless networks. "Rwanda has to look at emerging technologies happening everywhere...see where the United States and developed world will be, and then meet them there," said Veilleux.
KIST is the first public institution of its kind in Rwanda, and is part of the rebuilding after the war and genocide of 1994. KIST enrolls about three thousand male and female students, and offers certificate, bachelors and masters degrees in fields such as Food and Science Technology, Architecture, Information Technology and Management.
Students at KIST are, like Simmons students, very professionally oriented. But Veilleux notes that "the cream of the crop of Rwanda end up in some ways being at a disadvantage with respect to even the most mediocre students in the US."
"Students worldwide now need to learn to make their own opportunities. Rwandan students know that there isn't a set place for them. US students aren't really prepared for that perspective," said Veilleux. "There are a lot of opportunities out there. You just have to be thinking differently."
Veilleux will be in Rwanda for the Fall 2013 semester.
"I was thrilled," said Veilleux when she heard she'd been approved. "...And then, I was really scared. You start to think [about how] you will be away and inaccessible for three to four months."
Outside of teaching computer engineering, Veilleux has another, more personal reason for exploring Rwanda.
"I'm really interested in the idea of truth and reconciliation," she said. Veilleux said Rwandans speak of moving forward as one Rwanda, but "I'm skeptical that you can be over a genocide in twenty years... and if that's true, then I want to know how that happened."
"It has nothing to do with science and technology, but how this world is going to get better," Veilleux said.
Recent Entries by Nanette Veilleux
- Thanksgivukkuh in Rwanda
So, the land of a thousands hills has very few turkeys. At the HRH Thanksgiving party last night we saw three of them, deceased, sadly. Or not so sadly. It's odd how "food from home" seems so compelling and exotic...
- Good class, nice feeling
I think there's lots of things in life I would do better if I'd had a practice run first. Probably storming the fences at Seabrook, probably teaching my first class back in the 80's, probably raising children, probably being a...
- Animals at Akegera
Okay, I fully understand that I'm here for a teaching role and I have been doing plenty of teaching and mentoring. But I know that you really want to see pictures of animals. My internet is jumping in and out...
Okay, I could narrate this whole set of pictures, but I know you aren't going to read anything. You're just going to jump ahead to the pictures of the beasts. What you can't tell from the photos is that I...
- Random Hacks of Kindness
Last weekend I was able to mentor KIST and other Rwandan students in the Random Hacks of Kindness Hackathon (Simmons students: we gotta do something like this!) It was a four nation, simul-cast event that had students coding for 36...
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