May 6, 2021
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May 24, 2021

29-year-old Rwandan Scientist Appointed as a Professor in MIT

From the News Desk

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has appointed a 29-year-old Rwandan research scientist as a professor in the materials science department. He will be serving as an Assistant Professor, making him the only black faculty member of the department. Dr Aristide Gumyusenge is a research scientist and a materials science engineer with a background in polymer chemistry. He obtained his PhD in chemistry with a focus on organic semiconductors from Purdue University. He graduated in 2019. Aristide Gumyusenge’s research interests are in designing and processing novel organic materials for bioelectronics and neuromorphic computing devices.

In 2019, Gumyusenge, together with his colleagues led by Prof. Jianguo Mei, discovered polymers that can sustain extreme heat. They published their work in the prestigious Science journal.

Speaking on the appointment, Dr Aristide Gumyusenge said, “It is a great honour, generally speaking, and a dream come true! As a black faculty member and as a Rwandan, it speaks great volumes. It means that someone like me can work hard from an extremely humble beginning and make it this far. I hope it inspires many more, especially the youth in Rwanda and elsewhere, to believe in themselves and to believe they can go very far.”

Gumyusenge’s responsibilities will involve teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in the materials science department. He will also run a research group at MIT focusing on developing new materials for biology-inspired electronics. Dr Aristide Gumyusenge aims at utilizing his platform and expertise in materials science to pioneer sustainable solutions to global challenges such as clean water scarcity, clean energy, and advancing healthcare, especially on the African continent.

Gumyusenge was born on a small farm in Kamonyi District, Southern Province, Rwanda. His family survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He attended the St Leon minor Seminary in Kabgayi for his high school education. He majored in Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics. He scored distinctions in all subjects in the national exams at the end of high school in 2010. He had the second-best score in chemistry, and this earned him the Rwandan Presidential Scholarship to attend a college in the USA. Gumyusenge taught himself how to speak English by listening to BBC and VOA. He had his college education at Wofford College in South Carolina and majored in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. Gumyusenge is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials (GLAM).




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