Miss Africa Utah 2020
Pauline Makoma – Miss Rwanda Utah 2020
Pauline Makoma resides in Salt Lake City where she moved with her family 3 years ago. She was born and raised in Rwanda where she completed her high school and early education. She is a sister to 5 amazing brothers and takes pride in being the only girl in the family. Growing up being the only girl has taught her how to be disciplined, organized, selfless and hardworking.
Pauline is a web developer and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in software engineering. She is passionate about learning new technologies and sharing her knowledge with others. She spends two hours every Saturday at the Utah Refugee Education and Training Center helping younger adults to code and does mentor young emerging Rwandan developers. She has also served for a year as a board member at United African Women of Hope which is a non-profit organization based in Utah that helps aide women with a refugee background that resettled in that area.
Her competitive nature and leadership skills helped her serve as her swim team captain for 3 consecutive years and has represented her school debate team in cross country competitions during her high school time. During her free time, she enjoys reading books, exercising and watching movies. She also likes posing for pictures for fun.
She hopes to one day open a career exploration center for young African girls with a focus on STEM. “There is still a stigma around what types of careers black girls can get into. My goal is to create a space where girls can come and realize they can be anything, that their dream to become something big isn’t a pipe dream”
Rwanda is a relatively stable East African country, and easily accessible from Kenya and Uganda. It is relatively easy, safe and simple to travel around. It is landlocked, surrounded by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.
Rwanda is not only the land of a thousand hills, but also a country rich in flora and fauna and stunning natural beauty in its scenic rolling and breathtaking green savannah. The country hosts some rare species of animals like the silverback mountain gorillas as well as unique birds and insects in the tropical forest of Nyungwe.
Growing up in Rwanda there were not a lot of opportunities to explore careers but 2 years ago my life changed forever when i got an opportunity to attend a 3 months Coding boot camp. The passion, exposure and lessons awoke the software engineer in me today. Sad I was introduced to technology later on in my academic journey. Even though I am very grateful for that opportunity that changed my life, I can’t help thinking about how many other young African women that still struggle to see themselves in technology and STEM as a whole.
Because of social stereotypes, lack of representation but most importantly lack of opportunity, it becomes harder and harder for black women to join these careers fields that are highly dominated by men.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that in 2015 the percentage of women of color attending higher education institutions who earned STEM degrees was: Black women: 2.9%
silicon valley has less than 3% WOC
“Anybody can be an expert given the opportunity to learn how to be an expert.”
This is why I have created African Girls Career Vision, as my platform.
which will target young African women from the age of 16 and above, to explore career fields that are not looked at as traditional. African Girls Career Vision goal is to create a space where young african girls can dream and set plans to realize their dreams. With help of one-on-one mentorship, we will be able to have more personal guidance for everyone in the program. Exploring career fields they want to get into, working on resumes and applying for available scholarships, all in all to help them be who they were meant to be.
The implementation will start During my reign as Miss Africa Utah 2020 where in the first 2 quotas African Girls Career Vision will carry out 2 workshops hosting successful black women to share theirs stories, to help build students confidence, ignite their curiosity and sharpen their dreams. Starting at two different highschools here in Utah(Cottonwood and West highschool) which could be online depending on the situation with COVID19.
In my third quota My hope is to travel back to my home country and carry out an in person workshop there as well at (GSOB) my former highschool. I know that this might not be the case because of these unprecedented times that we are going through. Which is why I organized a group of friends back home that would help me carry out an online workshop.
My fourth quotas will be dedicated to following up with the students and supporting the ones that show proof of determination to achieve a career through an annual scholarship fundraising for the 2 brightest stars. lol
Fundraising will be through a form of a cultural show titled Rwanda night, which will not only help us raise money but also showcase the beauty of Rwanda and Africa in general
“I believe that you can not be what you can not see”
Maybe we all can’t be engineers or doctors, we can pursue different careers. but
there is nothing more heartbreaking than to know that you did not pursue your dreams because of fear, limitation, lack of exposure, opportunities or the society in which you were born. But that is what African Girls Career Vision is here to make sure stops during and after my Reign as Miss africa Utah.
My platform is expected to reach about 300 young Africans women in a period of 12 months.
It is with great honor that I invite you to join in creating and finding opportunities for young African women to take up space and be the outliers they were meant to be, here in Utah, in Africa and all over the world.