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The exceptional women in STEM

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Women have made considerable contributions to the field of science and technology in Rwanda and in the whole world. They continue to achieve milestone after milestone even with the challenges and the stones that lay beneath them.

They show nothing but resilience, determination, audaciousness and boldness. Simply put, they are Invictus.

As we celebrate the 8th International day of Women and girls in science today, we want to honor some of these women. They are not only changing their lives, the country, the people around them but they can also be big inspirations for other women and girls in STEM.

In no order;

Valentine Dushimiyimana

Valentine Dushimiyimana is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Cape Town in AIDS and Cardiovascular Diseases. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health from Mount Kenya University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health from the University of Rwanda.

She won the award for her research on Image Processing for the Effectiveness of Cardiovascular Disease Testing in People Living with HIV and on Antiretroviral Therapy. This is done based on clinical blood tests, as well as clinical indications.

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Dr Claire Karekezi

Dr. Karekezi is a Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Rwanda Military Hospital, Kigali, Rwanda. She graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Rwanda.

In 2009. Dr. Karekezi completed her neurosurgery training and graduated as a Neurosurgeon in 2016 from the Mohamed V University. She was the first female neurosurgeon in Rwanda.

Karekezi also added extra training for almost two years in the United States and Canada in pursuit of her dreams of science.

Together with eight other women, she was awarded in 2022 by Forbes Magazine under the ‘Forbes Woman Africa Award’ which recognizes impactful women in Africa.

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Dr.Gloria Mukeshimana

Dr. Gloria is a consultant cardiologist in the internal medicine department at King Faisal Hospital, Rwanda. Her areas of expertise include clinical adult cardiology and interventional cardiology.

She went to the School of Medicine specifically in internal Medicine at the University of Rwanda and later pursued Cardiology in South Africa.

She is the only young female cardiologist in Rwanda and her work here at KFH has been remarkable.

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Esther Mbabazi

Esther Mbabazi is a professional commercial airline pilot in Rwanda, a field that is still largely perceived as men’s domain.. She is the first female in Rwanda to become certified as a commercial airline pilot. She flies for RwandAir, the national airline of Rwanda.

She trained at the East African Civil Aviation Academy in Uganda, before RwandAir sponsored her to continue her training in Miami, Florida.

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Dr. Esperance Munganyinka

Dr. Esperance Munganyinka is a head of the Department of National Research and Innovation Fund (NRIF) at National Council for Science and Technology.

Before joining NCST in 2020, she has served as a research scientist over 12 years in Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board conducting research, training, and outreach studies in the areas of Biological and Agricultural sciences.

Her research has led to the publication of ten (10) refereed journal papers. She won various competitive research grants and coordinated several research project

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Prof Eugénie Kayitesi

Prof Eugénie Kayitesi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Consumer and Food Science University of Pretoria.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Food science and technology, Food science and technology
From the University of Rwanda. She later continued her masters in Food science and technology, Food science and technology in South Africa.

She has expertise in various areas of Food Science and Technology, particularly food chemistry/Biochemistry, food processing, and sensory science. Kayitesi has published more than 30 peer-reviewed international journal articles and book chapters. She undertakes fundamental and applied research relating to improved utilization of indigenous and mostly underutilized African plant-based foods.

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Dr Alice Ikuzwe

Dr. Alice Ikuzwe is currently the Vice principal of IPRC-Kigali. Since graduating from AIMS South Africa in 2012, Alice obtain a Research Master’s in Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronic) from Stellenbosch University where her thesis in “Modeling, Design, Construction and Installation of a Daylighting System for Classroom in Rural South Africa” served to lay the foundation for her PhD.

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Dr. Jenniffer Batamuliza

Dr. Jennifer Batamuliza is the head of the Data Driven Incubation Hub & short professional courses at the African center of excellence Data Science at the University of Rwanda.

She graduated with a Master’s degree in Engineering in Computer Science and Technology from the University Of Electronics Science and Technology of China (UESTC) and also has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from University of Rwanda- College of Science and Technology former KIST.

She is the Founder & CEO RWA TECH HUB social enterprise that mentors and trains high school girls on Technology. She has a PHD in Data science -Data Mining.

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Dr. Aurore Nishimwe

Dr. Aurore Nishimwe is a lecturer in the School of Health Sciences/College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda. Aurore holds a Master of Science degree in Health Informatics, a Bachelor’s degree in Population Studies, and an advanced diploma in Anaesthesia.

Aurore’ areas of research interests include public health, telemedicine, and eHealth, implementation research, quality assurance in education and more. She has two peer-reviewed publications and several conference proceedings publications.

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Dr. Annette Uwineza

Dr. Annette Uwineza, a postgraduate researcher, a Human genetics expert and a lecturer at University of Rwanda (UR) has been recognized in 2021 as a scientist among 16 fellows who conducted outstanding research in Sub-Saharan Africa.

She is also a Director of Allied Services at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK). She conducted research on “computer-assisted analysis of clinical features of Rwandan patients with rare genomic neurodevelopmental disorders.”

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All of these women are exceptional not because they chose to pursue STEM, but because they stood tall and achieved their goals regardless of the obstacles.

They are a symbol for young girls that everything is possible.

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