EPISODE 5: FROM EAST PALO ALTO TO KIGALI, RWANDA Hosts: Alphonse Habyarimana, Nico Janik, Sam Phillips
Nico Janik is the Makerspace/Engineering Coordinator for the Ravenswood City School District. RCSD is a public school district with seven campuses serving low-income students of color, from transitional kindergarten through 8th grade, in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park, California, United States. A team of dedicated STEM-oriented people have been working since 2013 to build the makerspace program at RCSD from one pilot program in an empty classroom, to having equipped and staffed makerspaces at all of its 7 school sites. Nico’s work includes helping a team of site tinkerers (our makerspace staff), tinker teachers and classroom teachers bring making to their students. She is also lucky to still be able to occasionally make thing with kids! Before becoming a classroom teacher, she worked professionally as a mechanical engineer, most notably at IDEO Product Development, OddzOn Products and Hasbro Toys. She holds a multiple subject teaching credential. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in both mechanical engineering and environmental studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in Engineering/Product Design from Stanford University.
Alphonse Habyarimana is the manager & developer of Kepler Tech Lab, a science, and technology laboratory based in Kigali, Rwanda aims to improve and provide hands-on learning experiences for high school students and accelerates technical business ideas through workshops, outreaches, and advising. Alphonse is a member of the International Development Innovation Network, and he educates youth to help them acquaint themselves with technical skills and hands-on experiments through STEM courses and independent projects. He holds Associate of Arts in General Studies from prestigious Kepler University Program, a partner of College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, where he is completing Bachelor of Arts in Management. Prior to joining Kepler in the summer of 2014, Alphonse has studied Electronics and Telecommunication for three years at the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center and earned National Advanced Certificate of Technical Secondary Education, A2. At IPRC, he involved in Electrical/Electronic workshops and Telecommunication Laboratory which both stimulated his interest in engineering education and manufacturing sectors. His topics of interest in education are but not limited to electronics, manufacturing, STEM, design of experiments, and sketching modeling and prototyping.