After a yearlong sabbatical in Africa and Europe, where she visited universities focused on social development and global sustainability, Professor Eileen Kwesiga says, “The challenge for me is to evaluate how I incorporate that sustainability model into the curriculum. How do we guide our students to address sustainability so later generations can enjoy what we’ve enjoyed?”
Highly supportive faculty who generously share their teaching, research, and consulting expertise across interdisciplinary fields makes Bryant a rewarding environment for faculty to teach, and students to learn, says Kwesiga, a 2014 Presidential Fellow. “In the Management Department (named sixth best in the nation by USA Today/College Factual), we have amazing and dedicated faculty who are true to their craft.”
"I've chosen this career ... to ensure that the next generation succeeds not only as great businesspeople but as individuals who care about the environment and other people," she says. "That's the [obligation] of good teachers and good role models."
While helping indigenous communities, Kwesiga’s Management 200 students learn first-hand how small enterprises operate. One award-winning class project collected and shipped 2,000 books and some computers to a very poor Kenyan indigenous school, which had no books. Visiting the school two years later, Kwesiga discovered that it had become an essential community resource. Through such initiatives, Kwesiga imparts her core beliefs: “We are all global citizens, and our actions here have an impact, if you’re willing. Nobody is too small to make a difference.”
During her career installing enterprise resource planning systems, including at General Electric, Kwesiga was often the sole minority female in meetings. “I took the lack of mentors and role models as normal; that should not be normal,” says Kwesiga. “It’s important that we teach and support members of the next generation, especially those lacking role models.”
Enthusiastically embracing initiatives that elevate and mentor girls, particularly disadvantaged ones, she has volunteered with programs teaching coding to middle school girls and others sponsored by the PwC Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and 4Mile (Multicultural and International Leadership Experience). Bryant undergraduates often serve as counselors and mentors and are sometimes hired into full-time positions after graduation.
“I feel a deep sense of responsibility to students who come from other parts of the world and face a big cultural chasm, which I experienced as a student a long time ago,” she says. From navigating the local grocery store’s food to understanding American college life, international students need to acclimate to a new way of life, says Kwesiga, who shares her experience in 4MILE's structured orientations for international students and their parents, and in informal encounters with students throughout the academic year.
Works with 4MILE – Multicultural and International Leadership Experience
Volunteers with programs teaching coding to middle-school girls and others
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