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Regina Nkonge Announced as New Obama Foundation Scholar

Regina Nkonge, Head of Digital Learning Research & Innovation in @iLabAfrica, will join the second cohort of the Obama Foundation Scholars Program.


We are thrilled to announce that Regina Nkonge, Head of Digital Learning Research & Innovation in @iLabAfrica, is among the second cohort of Obama Foundation Scholars. Regina will be joining 32 rising leaders from around the world who will study at the University of Chicago and Columbia University for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Obama Foundation Scholars Program seeks to support dynamic, collaborative, rising leaders from around the world in an innovative one-year academic and leadership experience.

Regina will be among 20 Obama Foundation Scholars at the University of Chicago who will earn a Master of Arts degree focused on International Development and Policy at the Harris School of Public Policy. Outside the classroom, the UChicago Scholars will have the chance to participate in experiences throughout Chicago, including on the South Side where the Foundation is located and where President Obama got his start in community organizing. By engaging with the local community, students will have the opportunity to complement what they learn in the classroom and also to share and exchange perspectives on service and change with local Chicago leaders.

All Scholars (at UChicago and Columbia) will have extraordinary opportunities such as a Leadership Week before classes begin, access to some of the world’s most innovative thinkers, values-based leadership training, internships, and immersive activities throughout the year in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. This will provide them with outstanding networking, learning, and leadership development opportunities.

MSc. in Information Systems Security

Regina holds an Master of Science in Information Systems Security – Digital Forensics concentration and her career has focused on technology, innovation, education and community development. Through @iLabAfrica, her projects have included providing leadership in training over 3,000 youths in Kenya on employability skills, starting the CS4Teachers program that has fostered professional development for 100 secondary school teachers in the area of computer science, and with the support of Dr. Joseph Sevilla, she has developed a project on Refugee Empowerment: Enhancing Affordable Access to Education, which, by leveraging on technology, sought to widen access to tertiary education at Kakuma refugee camp and its host community.

She has also provided leadership in the development of animated digital modules on trade for the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (ZNCCIA), Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC) under the financial support of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

Member of Internet Society

She is a member of Internet Society and Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEEE). She also serves as Technology Enhanced Learning Leader at Strathmore University under the project ‘PEBL – Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning’.

In 2018 Regina was among few Kenyans fully funded by the Internet Society to participate in the Africa Internet Summit in Dakar, Senegal. She was also among 10 scholarship recipients (internationally) recognized by the Alliance for PeaceBuilding for their local peacebuilding efforts at PeaceCon 2018 in Washington, DC.

Prior to Strathmore University, Regina worked closely with AISPO Uganda Country Director, in collaboration with St. Francis Nsambya Hospital, National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory of Uganda, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program and Uganda Stop TB Partnership, to coordinate the setup of culture and biomolecular tests, EQA activities and capacity building to improve TB detection rates by reducing diagnostic errors made by laboratory technicians, with the intention of improving diagnostic capabilities of 56 laboratories in Kampala.

“Few great things are accomplished by one person, and so many thanks to Dr. Humphrey Njogu, Dr. Stephen Ichatha and the entire @iLabAfrica fraternity especially Dr. Sevilla for being supportive, encouraging and open to innovation. Mr. Emmanuel Kweyu for his guidance, advice, faith and high expectations of me. My digital learning enthusiasts Philomena, Kennedy, Victor and Phalex. This accomplishment is as much yours as it is mine. Last but most important, I give thanks to God without whom we are nothing, are worth nothing and can do nothing.”

Inaugral class of Scholars

The Obama Foundation Scholars program was launched in 2018. The inaugural class of Scholars recently graduated, having studied a core graduate curriculum supplemented with Obama Foundation sponsored leadership programming. Each Scholar developed, with the guidance of the Obama Foundation, an action plan and approach that they are now taking back to their home regions to scale up their work and reinvest in their communities.

To learn more about the Obama Foundation Scholars program and the 2019-2020 cohort, please visit obama.org/scholars.

We look forward to learning from Regina during her time at UChicago and beyond.