In Rwanda, building a better future

Publication Date

Keilah Creedon '14

MAJOR: Mathematics, History
MINOR: Dance
CURRENT POSITION: Educator and workforce trainer in Rwanda

Keilah Creedon '14

"Math and history aren’t necessarily fields that lend themselves to social justice or development studies, but at Union they became lenses for me to examine those exact things."

With a focus on three different disciplines, Keilah Creedon admits to having had some doubts senior year about where her liberal arts degree would take her.

“I’m used to getting quizzical looks when people read my CV,” Keilah says. “They jokingly ask, ‘So you’re a dancing mathematician historian?’ But it made for a very rich day at college when I moved among math and history and dance. Being able to do that is what’s so great about Union.”

Keilah conducted research in both her history and mathematics majors, and as a dance minor, she choreographed a piece to raise awareness about sex trafficking.

The Flagstaff, Ariz., native also lived in the community service theme house, played the cello in the Early Music Ensemble and was active in the campus Christian fellowship.

A course in globalization shaped and challenged her views about work in developing countries.

“It was at Union that my desire to make the world a better place took root and became more refined,” she says.

She notes that her professors encouraged her to pursue this passion further by writing a history thesis about contemporary slavery and a math thesis that statistically mapped the connection between gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS.

“Math and history aren’t necessarily fields that lend themselves to social justice or development studies, but at Union they became lenses for me to examine those exact things,” Keilah says.

After graduation, Keilah went to Rwanda as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. When the fellowship ended, she took a job at MindLeaps, a nonprofit for street children, where she taught English and dance and helped start a basic literacy program.

Now in a communications role at the Education Development Center, she works closely with the Rwandan government on innovative solutions to joblessness. She lives in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, and travels throughout the country, reaching out to vulnerable youth through literacy and workforce training programs.

Though a world away from the Union campus, she says her college experiences are never far from her thoughts.

“I am constantly applying the research, writing problem-solving skills I learned at Union to everyday challenges,” she says. “I am also grateful for the way I was challenged to think creatively as a dancer and musician.”

In Rwanda, Keilah continues to flourish in a close-knit community of friends, artists and mentors. She is part of a contemporary dance group and a local church, and she has played in an Afro-rock band.

“This is a really exciting time to be in Rwanda,” she says. “Most people think of Rwanda only in the context of the genocide that devastated the country in 1994, but it has such a different, inspiring story to tell now – one of incredible development, change, peace and security. The drive and determination to build a better future here are contagious. It’s humbling to get to be an eyewitness to this period of Rwanda’s history.

“My dream was to do something bigger than myself, to give back in a global sense and contribute to change in others’ lives. Union helped transform my dream for the future. I’m living it.”


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