Luhanga receives 2022 Next Einstein Forum Award

Faculty spotlight: Edith Luhanga

Monica Sumbi

Oct 18, 2022

Edith Luhanga, assistant research professor at Carnegie Mellon University Africa, was recently named a 2022 Next Einstein Forum (NEF) award recipient. She was recognized for her research impact on nutrition for pregnant women and children, maternity health, and prevention of child violence and sexual abuse in Tanzania.

The NEF focuses on convening Africa's innovators to highlight breakthrough discoveries and catalyze scientific collaboration for human development. Held every two years, the three-day forum gathers 500 leading scientists, policymakers, business leaders, journalists, civil society leaders, entrepreneurs, and scientists to highlight talent and advance global breakthroughs.

Luhanga is an overachiever who has successfully carved out her niche as an innovator, problem solver, and mentor. She has supervised eight students so far: four master’s students and four Ph.D. students. And after a short period of twelve months of research, one of these students, Maria Malamsha, published an article in the prestigious Journal of Medical Internet Research, series games edition. The article was about their work creating an app that educates parents of toddlers on child sexual abuse prevention.

Peers and colleagues alike have lauded Luhanga for her service to the university community. In her previous role at the Nelson Mandela Institute of Technology in Tanzania, she volunteered as a member of several committees which ranged from policy development, grant proposal writing, senate reporting, and event planning.

"I will always grab opportunities to serve. Why? I learn, and this is an important pathway to career progression," says Luhanga.

Luhanga's journey in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) began with her love for science from a young age. As an aviation enthusiast, she considered turning her interest in flight into a career but was deterred because of the lack of consideration for women. She gives an example of the coveralls donned by aviation engineers, "They limit mobility and are very uncomfortable for women," she says.

Luhanga has since become a strong advocate for women's inclusion in policy and design in STEM careers. She has a passion to mentor girls interested in taking up a STEM career and consults with the Carnegie Mellon University Africa STEM Women Lead Speaker Series.

Watch Luhanga share the inspiration behind her career choice: 

Listen to Luhanga give a lightning talk at the recent CyLab-Africa Summit: