03 May African Women in STEM/Technology
- Dr. Unoma Ndili Okorafor: Dr. Okorafor is the founder and Chief Executive of WAAW Foundation. Born in Nigeria, she received her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos in 1998. She obtained the M.Sc. degree from Rice University in Houston, TX and her Ph.D. at Texas A & M University, College Station, TX both in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is a graduate of INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship program and attended Stanford Business School’s Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship. Her industry experience includes software developer and team lead at the Education Technology Division at Texas Instruments, Dallas Texas. She has worked at Intel, HP and IBM research lab. Dr. Okorafor is a member of IEEE, ACM, SWE, NSBE and SPIE and has been the recipient of the Sloan Foundation Fellowship. the AAUW Engineering Dissertation Fellowship and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship for promoting STEM education. She is a partner at Herbal Papaya LLC and acts as a visiting professor at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja Nigeria teaching courses at the Computer Science department.
- Funke Opeke: Funke was born and raised in Nigeria where she obtained a degree in Electronics & electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in 1981 before she proceeded to New York for a Master’s degree at Columbia University.According to Girls in ICT, following graduation from Columbia, Funke pursued a career in ICT in the United States and successfully ended that phase of her career as an Executive Director with the Wholesale division of Verizon Communications in New York when she decided to return to Nigeria in 2005.Funke joined MTN Nigeria as Chief Technical Officer, and also served as adviser to Transcorp and Chief Operating Officer of NITEL for a brief period before launching Main Street Technologies in 2007. The company went on to raise $240 Million to build the pioneer private submarine cable system in West Africa – Main One Cable. The 7,000km cable runs from Portugal down to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria and is delivering wholesale broadband capacity across several countries in West Africa today.
- Ethel Coffie: Ethel Cofie is a Mandela Fellow for President Obama’s Young African Leaders initiative (YALI), and has been featured on BBC and CNN in regards to technology and women leadership.Cofie founded Women in Tech Africa, which was the initiator of the 1st Pan African woman in tech meetup and was shortlisted for the UN GEM Tech Award for work supporting women in ICT .Cofie sits on numerous boards including Egotickets (An Africa online ticketing platform); Chillax (A Mobile App for providing tailored entertainment choices for professional Africans); and Social Media week Lagos
Cofie has spoken at numerous conferences including Global entrepreneurship summit in Morrocco and Mobile West Africa. Cofie is a high caliber IT Professional with a wealth of technical and commercial skills acquired across a wide range of demanding roles .
- Professor Tebello Nyokong: The African Union presented South African chemist, Professor Tebello Nyokong, with the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award in recognition of her efforts to advance science on the continent. An internationally renowned scientist, Professor Nyokong has been commended for her pioneering research into photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment.
- Tolu Oni:A researcher at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Tolu Oni aims to deepen our understanding of the changing patterns of disease and its implications for population health in the continent’s burgeoning urban areas. As the Next Einstein Forum writes, ‘she is particularly interested in the interaction between chronic infectious and non-infectious diseases, and the impact of the physical and socioeconomic environment on the health profile of populations living in unplanned urban settings’. What’s more, this accomplished scientist is creating a research initiative that will identify creative strategies to address complex population health.
- Blessing Kwomo: Given her aptitude for mathematics, Nigerian entrepreneur, Blessing Kwomo, was encouraged to become an engineer. However, she decided to harness her talents to help solve health problems facing lower-income families, such as typhoid fever, cholera and tuberculosis. Just before her 19th birthday, Kwomo launched De Rohoboths Therapeutic Studio, which offers a holistic approach to healthcare, and aims to assess a patient’s living environment to address the root cause of infectious diseases. Our hearty congratulations go to Kwomo for being named one of the 2015 finalists of the Anzisha Prize, which celebrates Africa’s innovative entrepreneurs.