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25-Year-Old Ugandan PhD Student Wins Facebook Emerging Scholar Award

It is not every day that you meet a 25-year old Ugandan pursuing a PhD. But Moses Namara is not any 25-year old.

Moses Namara describes himself as a human centred computing PhD student. Namara’s PhD work deals with how humans perceive, interact, relate and work with technology: with focus on their online privacy. The decision to share certain information online usually comes with the risk of the information being used in unintended and unwanted ways such as identity theft for example. This inherently makes privacy-decision making (private information disclosure) difficult for users.

Namara investigates, devices ways and designs privacy decision systems that should make it easier and more secure. Namara was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda but has spent the last 5 years studying in the United States.

The Emerging Scholar Award is part of Facebook’s ongoing commitment to identifying promising doctoral students and supporting them and their research throughout their careers. The Award is designed to specifically support talented students from underrepresented minority groups and encourage them to continue their PhD studies, pursue innovative research, and engage with the broader research community.


The Emerging Scholar Award is open to first or second year PhD students who are members of a minority group that is underrepresented in the technology sector. The award is open to students at universities in the US and abroad who are enrolled during the current academic year and studying computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, system architecture, or a related area.

The Facebook Emerging Scholar award includes payment of tuition fees for two academic years, $37,000 annual stipend, and up to $5,000 towards conference travel funds.

The second winner was Rediet Abebe from Ethiopia who is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University, advised by Jon Kleinberg. Her research focuses on algorithms, computational social science, and social networks. In particular, she is interested in using insights from theoretical computer science to better understand and implement interventions in socioeconomic inequality and opinion dynamics. She is the 2016 recipient of the Google Generation Scholarship. Prior to Cornell, she completed an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, an M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. in Mathematics from Harvard University. She was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Written by How Africa News

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