We Need A Few Good Men


By Dr. Frances Colon, Deputy Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State

Dr. Frances Colon speaking with the girls at the WiSci STEAM Camp

I arrived at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology in Rwanda expecting to feel energized, the way that only the energy in a room full of brilliant, determined women can make you feel. The way that a phone call from your “hermana” gives you the nerve to negotiate that raise you deserve, or the way that my network of women scientist peers encourages me to one day run for office.

I came to tell my “science diplomat” story to 120 high school and college girls from across the United States and eight countries in Africa who are attending #WiSci2015 – a science, technology, engineering, art and design, and math (STEAM) camp for girls. The theory behind public-private partnerships like WiSci is that if we give girls technical skills, teach them how to network, inspire in them a global outlook and match them with mentors, they can be high academic achievers, launch their own businesses or successfully compete for jobs in the rapidly evolving global technology industry. In the next decade, 80% of jobs will require technical skills, yet currently, women in the United States only make up 28% of all science and engineering occupations. The Association of African Women in Science and Engineering estimates that in Africa, it’s close to 20%.

Today, Rwanda is a different country than the one that news outlets put on our radars in the 1990s. It has come a long way, setting its sights on becoming a high technology hub for East Africa and making the right investments that have it well on its way to achieve that goal. In Rwanda, technology —> Read More