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Ayanna Samuels

PhD Fellow | Aerospace Engineer | Assistant Professor | Intl. Dev. Professional | Motivational Speaker | Health & Wellness Consultant

Ayanna is a PhD Fellow and Assistant Professor at the Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. Her research is focused on understanding the Mechanisms for Promoting Gender Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems with a particular focus on the ICT and STEM arenas. She is also an Aerospace Engineer, Technology Policy Specialist, Gender Advocate and International Development Professional. Ayanna has run a consultancy practice for over 17 years specializing in a) the intersection of International Development, Gender, ICT and STEM policy b) the use of ICTs and Technology Policy as enablers of access to basic human rights, socio-economic empowerment and poverty eradication, c) gender equity in STEM and d) the role Space Technology can play in realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and bridging the digital divide. She is also a Health and Wellness Consultant, Motivational Speaker and determined Athlete.

Ms. Samuels holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology comprising two M.Sc. degrees in Technology Policy and Aerospace Engineering respectively, and a B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology. In 2005, Ayanna broke ground by being the first black woman since 1972 to earn an M.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT. Ayanna has pursued further education in ICT and Technology Policy for Development, Gender and Human Development from august institutions such as the UN, since graduating from MIT.

Continuously weaving a wide professional footprint, Ayanna has worked with governments, academia and industry-leading private sector entities in the Caribbean, the USA, Africa and Europe. Ayanna has coordinated research, taught and/or managed projects for several distinguished institutions including Oslo Metropolitan University, the Association for Affordable Internet, MIT’s Space Enabled Research Group housed at the Media Lab, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Organisations (CANTO), CARICOM, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization, the International Institute for Communications and Development, the German International Development Corporation and the St. Lucia Coalition of Services Industries. She has also worked with private sector companies such as mSurvey in Kenya and Citibank and also with the Government of Jamaica. Ayanna was also stationed at the ITU’s Geneva, Switzerland office in 2004 and 2010. Her body of work has resulted in ICT4D related knowledge products and the establishment and execution of tangible capacity building programmes.