MSc Practising Sustainable Development
Place of Work: GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile)
Position: mEducation Events & Relationships Manager
What does your current position involve and what do you love about it?
My current position involves planning events, making connections and managing relationships between mobile network operators and members of the education community to spur increased adoption of mobiles in education (mEducation). Our goal is to stimulate mEducation trials. Although we focus primarily on developed markets in the Global North, we also reach out to people interested in mEducation located in South America and South and Southeast Asia.
I love this role because I get to do a lot of networking in a field that I am also doing my PhD in. For example, I had the opportunity to attend the mLearn 2012 conference in Helsinki, one of the leading conferences in my field. At this conference I met people whose work I’ve read that has influenced my progression in the field of gender, learning and mobiles for development. I also made plans to collaborate on future projects. In addition, I enjoy that I am employed to do something that I excel at in a field where positions are still relatively limited for educationists.
How did you come to get that position?
A number of elements contributed to me being hired for my current position. I have eight years of experience as an educator on four continents, I have published in the field of mEducation and I attended three major events in ICT4D and mEducation where I networked with some of the people I currently work with. In addition, I worked for two years as a telecommunications research analyst for the Africa and Middle East regions. Because I understand both the educational aspects and the business aspects of telecommunications in mEducation, I had a rare combination of knowledge and experience for the role.
How do you think your degree has helped you?
My degree from Royal Holloway has helped me because by joining for the MSc in ICT4D, I gained access to a network of researchers and practitioners who gladly and regularly share information on upcoming events of interest. A number of the events that I attended or presented at during the academic year I was in the MSc program were sourced from colleagues in the global network, the ICT4D Collective. Attendance at these events transformed into invaluable networking opportunities that have helped me to get where I am today in the field.
Furthermore, on my course there were fellow students and professors who really pushed my ideas of development to evolve – even made me question whether the use of technology was necessary in every case. The diversity of viewpoints has provided me with food for thought that I think has made me a healthier ICT4D practitioner and researcher. My PhD research focus on the connections between gender, learning and mobiles was borne out of the discussions and readings that I had on this course.
Is there any advice you would give to current students?
One thing I partially credit with the continued opportunities I receive to work on projects is the ICT4D Centre brand. When I attend events and mention that I am studying at Royal Holloway in the ICT4D Centre, and specifically with Dr. Dorothea Kleine, I receive a lot of interest in the work I am doing and questions about the program.
At this stage in my career, I needed to derive immediate value from the investment I made in studying for this degree. I believe that I made the right choice in coming to Royal Holloway because my career and research opportunities have grown exponentially. Additionally, by being awarded a Crossland Scholarship to cover the tuition and fees involved with earning a PhD in ICT4D at the same institution, I will be able to continue growing as a researcher and practitioner. I have been instrumental in helping others in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years of the MSc in ICT4D connect to some of the same opportunities I have had. I say, pay it forward!