The Best of Systers Blog Spring 2012 PIO AWARD WINNER SPOTLIGHT – Thogori
Rose Robinson, Systers Program Manager
Thogori is a 23 year old Kenyan woman who is currently work as a project manager at XRX Technologies Limited, an Information Technology solutions provider in East Africa. She received her undergraduate degree (BSc. (Hons) Software Engineering with Multimedia) at Limkokwing University, Malaysia and graduated with a 1st Class Honors in December 2009. Malaysia was an eye opening experience as she studied with students from over 40 countries. Her classes were intellectually stimulating in that students had contrasting views that lent themselves to not only debate but also highlighted the similarities in challenges facing our societies despite the different cultures. This therefore resulted in ingenious solutions to common problems due to the different options brought forth.
Thogori, also realized that social issues such as gender bias towards career aspirations traverse the continents. She was the only female in her class, the only other woman in the program, dropped out in her second year. She loves technology and the ability it has to impact lives positively. Thogori was admitted to Carnegie Mellon University to join the Fall 2012 intake for their Master of Information Systems Management. She is committed to excellence in her goals and she makes no apologies for it. She wants to change the society within which she lives for the better, through information technology, my passion.
Thogori returned home to Kenya after her in Malaysi helped her grasp the condition of the information technology industry. She says
It has not been without challenges as there are social biases regarding gender and the suitability of women to play ball in typically male dominated fields. There are numerous instances in which male executives refuse to get consultancy from a woman. These warped social perceptions have challenged me to do great and to prove a point and motivate women within and without this field.
I plan to mentor young girls in primary and secondary schools in East Africa. Currently, I already give talks and mentor girls in primary and secondary level in Kenya. I would increase my scope to the East African region. The number of women in the IT industry in our part of the developing world is appalling. I want to encourage young girls to pursue this field, because they have the chance to change their lives as well as the lives of those around them. As the saying goes, “When you educate a girl, you educate a community.”
Thogori will use the Systers Pass-It-On award toward the cost of books for her first year at Carnegie Mellon. In the future, she wants to establish an organization and a network that works to conceptualize and implement innovative information technology projects that change the quality of lives of the people in developing countries, starting with her home country Kenya. She wants to do this by bringing together the best minds in a space that is conducive to designing these radical ideas and bringing them to fruition.
Thogori wants to develop her own business and information technology management skills to be able to lead this change and rethink solutions to her country’s unique problems. Kenya already has radical technologies like M-PESA, a life changing mobile money transfer solution, which means that it is ready to embrace innovation. She says “Kenya needs young women technology leaders to drive the urgently needed information technology revolution as it is a predominantly young country. A Master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon accords her the chance to tailor her course to focus on her areas of interest. Thogori believes it will propel her towards being a part of the team pioneering this postive change as it will be truly rewarding.
Congratulations goes out to our Syster, Lydiah, receiving a Spring 2012 PIO award!
Read more about the Pass-It-On Awards Program.