About Shannon

I first fell in love with Rwanda through academics. I was researching the Gender Gap Index and learned that Rwanda was ranked as the fifth-most gender equal nation in the world, right underneath most of Scandinavia. I was shocked and curious how the World Economic Forum decided on this ranking. As a result, I decided to write my honors thesis about how Rwandan women reconstructed Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. I learned that Rwandan women have had the highest representation in government than anywhere else in the world, at a 64% majority. The socio-economics and politics of the last two decades have evolved drastically in Rwanda and now Rwanda is a forefront country in Africa. Shortly into my research, my interests began to shift from being purely academic to also being socio-cultural. I applied to be a Lumos Scholar with the intention to see hands-on everything I have written about and to work hands-on in a community I have developed a deep love for.

While in Rwamagana, Rwanda my main role is to tutor in English, but I will also assist the music program and their confidence-building workshop for girls. My personal goals are to gain first hand experience teaching in a developing country, dive into Rwandan culture and study Kinyarwanda and French. I also hope to foster positive encouragement for Rwandan girls so that they know that they are confident, capable women who can accomplish incredible feats. My immersion in this culture too will give me valuable insight into the inner-workings and effects of international development, and will allow me to challenge which practices in place are sustainable.

As for my background, I grew up in the suburbs outside of Los Angeles and moved to Nashville to study at Belmont where I recently graduated with a B.A in Global Leadership Studies and received a Music minor. I have been to 12 countries, of which I studied abroad for a semester in Australia and completed a maymester in Greece. Traveling and engaging in a global mindset has become apart of my life story, and I hope to continue exploring the world for the rest of life. For now, I step into Rwanda with an open mind and an open heart, ready to live, teach, grow and learn in the land of a thousand hills.