SPOTLIGHT

Alphonse Kanyandekwe

#Engineering
#Metallurgy
#Rwanda

Where are you from?

I am from Gakenke District in the Northern Province of Rwanda.

Currently Based in United Kingdom.

What is your educational background?

Currently, I am pursuing a master’s degree (Master of Metallurgy, MMet) in Advanced Metallurgy at the University of Sheffield (UK). I hold a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgy (Engineering) from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom (UK).I hold a degree in Metallurgy (Engineering) from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

What is your current occupation?

I work as the Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering Standards Officer at Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), a national standards body (NSB), where I participate in standards development and dissemination for Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering, for example standardization of steel, aluminum and plastic products. Also, I participate in developing standards related to the mining sector. Standardization work involves participating in standards development such as their harmonization at regional level, for example the East African Community (EAC) and their adoption at the international level such as at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

What or who got you into STEM?

I was encouraged by the Rwandan government move to promote science-based courses in secondary schools and universities.

What is the biggest challenge/barrier you have faced as an African in STEM?

At higher education institutions (HEIs) and other related institutions, there are no adequate research facilities related to metallurgy/materials science, and this demotivates anyone who would need to pursue a degree in Metallurgy or Materials Science though there is no institution offering such degrees in Rwanda.

How do you think your background/upbringing has been beneficial in your journey/career?

My upbringing helped me to be open-minded and a great networker. Today, networking skills are increasingly becoming very critical and have helped me to transfer the skills I have to my network.

How do you think we can start to change the narrative surrounding African contributions
to global STEM research & careers?

Well, I believe there is a need to update education systems in many African countries especially at university level and start to establish research centers for STEM. This should be steered towards finding solutions to problems facing African communities. Achievements of such institutions should be acknowledged at local, regional and continental levels. Also, collaborations with major international research/educational institutions should be recommended, though I have seen that in Rwanda such collaborations are being done little by little.

What advice would you like to give to young, aspiring Africans in STEM?

STEM is important for the development of any nation. Therefore, I urge young, aspiring Africans to opt for STEM courses. African continent has many resources to be exploited and STEM will play a major role!

Do you have any projects you’re working on that you would like us to highlight?

As part of my master’s degree studies, I am doing a research thesis on the effect of composition on the performance and properties of mould fluxes used in the continuous casting of high-aluminium steel and stainless steel. Currently, the world’s steel production is about 2 million tons every year and 95% of this steel is produced by continuous casting process. Mould fluxes play a key role in ensuring the excellent quality of steel products produced using this process.

 

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