Rosine Kamahoro, Associate Director of Admissions, CMU-Africa
This is the latest in a series of interviews with members of NAFSA: Association of International Educators to share insights, knowledge and expertise about career opportunities, growth and development. Today we hear from Rosine Kamaharo.
Rosine Kamahoro is passionate about education and capacity development. She has extensive experience in development, communication, and technology and holds a master’s degree in international studies with a major in development cooperation.
1. What made you choose international education as a career path, and specifically your specialty?
I started my professional career in the tech industry, transitioned into communications, and eventually found my passion in education. My choice was primarily driven by the desire to make a tangible impact on my community. As a fervent pan-Africanist, I firmly believe education is the cornerstone of Africa's development. The continent is home to the world's youngest population, with 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa under 30 years old, so nurturing this demographic is crucial.
My journey in education began as a student recruitment officer at Carnegie Mellon University-Africa, which later led me to graduate admissions. As the associate director of admissions for the past three years, I have led the team responsible for processing all program applications and finalizing admissions decisions. Reviewing applications from across the continent and witnessing the enrollment of talented and ambitious students into our programs has been a privilege. Witnessing their progression, growth in skills, and self-assurance has been incredibly fulfilling.
2. What does a typical workday look like for you?
In the realm of admissions, my routine varies with the cyclical nature of the work. Depending on the season, my day could involve reviewing applications, addressing applicant inquiries, devising strategies to improve yield, working on data for reports, or refining policies and procedures for upcoming cycles. Collaboration is crucial in enrollment management, so I schedule time for meetings with colleagues in recruitment and student affairs.
3. What do you consider one of your career successes? How did you achieve it?
One of my most notable career achievements was assuming my current role amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the adversity, our team surpassed our enrollment targets, which was exceptionally rewarding. This accomplishment can be attributed to our institution's swift adaptation to the changing landscape, seamless transition to remote work, and optimizing policies and procedures to facilitate student enrollment and remote study. This period allowed me to grow professionally and underscored my resilience in navigating new challenges, such as leading a new team remotely during a pandemic.
4. What do you consider a challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
Transitioning into the field of education posed a significant challenge, as it felt like a complete career reset, leaving me in unfamiliar territory. Determining the transferable skills from my previous roles and swiftly identifying areas for personal and professional growth was paramount. Embracing the unfamiliar, nurturing a sense of curiosity, and proactively learning about the educational landscape helped me recognize the applicability of my communication skills in recruitment, which heavily relies on effective marketing and partnership building.
5. What area of your field do you enjoy most, and what aspect would you like to further explore?
I enjoy learning more about youth from different backgrounds and corners of Africa—their passions, aspirations, challenges, and dreams. Working in admissions exposes me to various educational systems and cultural nuances, which significantly contributes to refining our policies and ensuring a seamless application experience. Striking the balance between efficiency and inclusivity remains an engaging challenge that motivates me.
Moving forward, I aspire to engage more closely with students on campus, actively contributing to their holistic educational journey.
6. What membership benefits offered by NAFSA have helped you in your career?
I recently completed a workshop on credential evaluations and learned a lot from it. Our program receives applications from diverse educational systems across the continent, necessitating a fair and comprehensive evaluation process. I eagerly anticipate pursuing further workshops and engaging with the knowledge communities offered by NAFSA.
7. Which of NAFSA’s special Member Interest Groups, regions, or knowledge communities do you belong to?
I recently joined the International Enrollment Management Knowledge Community Network within NAFSA, aiming to expand my professional network and knowledge base in this domain.
8. What advice would you share with job seekers or rising international educators?
Reflecting on my five-year journey in education, I wholeheartedly recommend this field to aspiring professionals, emphasizing the gratification and impactful opportunities it offers. As a sector, education accommodates diverse expertise, providing ample room for professionals from various backgrounds to contribute meaningfully. To my fellow international education peers, I encourage continuous learning and exploration across different fields to discover one's niche. As the saying goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”