Build Your Self-confidence – Dative Tuyisenge

I met Dative during my employment as a tutor at AIMS in Ghana. Here is our interview about her scientific journey:

Kindly state your name please:
My name is Dative Tuyisenge.

What’s your life story like so far?
I was born in Rusizi district in the Western part of Rwanda. I remember well during my primary school days at Nyakabwende and Bunyereri Primary Schools, I performed well in Mathematics. I kept succeeding in Mathematics all through my secondary schools at Institute Sainte Famille Nyamasheke and Group Scolaire Saint Joseph de Nyamasheke, because of my teacher who greatly inspired me to love Sciences. From that I decided to continue with Sciences at University of Rwanda – College of Science and Technology (former Kigali Institute of Science and Technology) where I studied Applied Mathematics – Statistics option. My colleagues were bothered with my passion for mathematics because they were told – and believed – that sciences were for male students only. I am glad I didn’t listen to them because I went ahead with my passion and excelled during my Bachelors degree.

After my undergraduate degree, I did professional internship as data entry clerk at the Ministry of Education in Rwanda before joining the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Ghana for a Masters degree in Mathematical Sciences. My experience at AIMS was like no other because I was introduced to Mathematical Sciences and learned how to solve problems using Mathematical skills.

In 2016, I graduated from AIMS, returned home and joined AIMS headquarters – the Next Einstein Initiative (NEI) – as an intern under the Program and Grants department. I worked diligently and was retained in the Research Department as a Project Coordinator – Health and Intervention Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence project. This is my current role. Part of my duties is to provide logistics support to the research staff, guests, Postdoc and Women Fellows, and PhD students. I also provide other types of support as requested.

What inspires you to go forward in STEM?
I have been passionate about Sciences, especially Mathematics, since my childhood. But, like many young Rwandans, I grew up struggling to pay school fees for my education, which was lowering my dream to become one of the acclaimed female scientists worldwide. Despite all that, my passion never reduced. I would say, that same passion inspires me every day to continue pursuing Mathematics and encourage others to do so every opportunity I get.

How about your biggest challenge as a woman in STEM?
On my side the challenge I see is that many young women fear to take scientific courses because they are told sciences are too complicated for them. But that is not true! It was and still is the biggest challenge I face as a young female scientist in a developing country.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?
As part of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, I like to give back to the community by interacting with young generations especially girls to overcome some challenges in the daily life, for example, unwanted pregnancies. I also like helping patients at the hospital.

Any achievements & awards?
I received a full scholarship from MasterCard Foundation to study a masters in Mathematical Sciences at AIMS Ghana. I also successfully completed an online training program in Climatology Statistics from the University of Reading.

Any words of encouragement for young girls?
From my experience, I advise young girls to overcome fear and build their self-confidence especially concerning sciences. This is a pathway to success because sciences are very important in the way we live our daily lives – we need sciences everywhere.

Thank you Dative for taking your time to speak to me.

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