Moses Namara is a 25 year old Ugandan who has been making waves internationally since he won the Facebook emerging scholar’s award. In a fierce competition, he outshone thousands of contesting youths to win the $37,000 award which is part of Facebook’s plan to support promising doctoral students throughout their research courses and careers. In an interview with Positive Youth’s Africa, Namara tells us what made him stand out.
About Moses Namara.
I am a Ugandan PHD student in Human Centered Computing at Clemson University, South Califonia, USA where my research focuses on how humans perceive, relate, interact and work with technology to foster a better digital world.
What made him stand out amidst thousands of youths worldwide?
I believe the uniqueness, relevance and potential of the project, hinged on how we can better preserve our privacy online in a bid for us to comfortably use the internet made me stand out.
Discouragements or challenges faced.
I did not face any discouragement, rather, I had all the support to go in for the award. I had already made up my mind with the belief that I have what it takes to compete, thus no discouragements could deter me.
But there were some challenges I did face such as simply writing my project on paper to perfectly convey what I had in mind. I had to ensure that I write and propel forward my idea perfectly for others to easily read and understand it. It took numerous iterations and constructive feedback early enough to finally get it right.
Reactions to his success.
I was excited when I was informed that I won.My success was a testament that focus, hard work and resilience pays. My family and friends were happy too and they congratulated me when I won the award. They continue to encourage me to keep at it.
About his PHD project.
My project focuses on exploring and structuring a user-tailored privacy approach that would enable users to control and maintain their privacy while enabling online sites such as Facebook to securely cater to their need to communicate. I intend to discover how best Facebook can tailor its privacy features to users various needs and behaviors while simplifying their decision making process. As Africa gets more digital and we continue to benefit from social media use, it is paramount for us to comfortably have control over our privacy as it pertains and relates to some of our cultures and norms.
Advice to African youths.
My advice to African youths is to start small with whatever it is one might have as a resource. Be patient, nurse a positive attitude, seek opportunity, put in the work and keep persistent.
Listening to music, reading books and hanging out with family and friends.