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Introducing new program associate Kaia Smith!

Hello! My name is Kaia, and I’m one of the most recent additions to the Exponential Education team. I’ve been in Ghana for just a few weeks, and although everything is still a little overwhelming and unfamiliar, I’m happy to say that I’ve already met so many lovely people, learned some basics in Twi, and figured out how to get around on the bumpy, chaotic minibuses that in Ghana we call tro-tros. As a musician and nature lover, I’m so excited to explore Ghana’s colorful music and beautiful scenery during my time here.

The past few years of my life have been dedicated to education, development, and traveling. After graduating from the College of Wooster with a degree in International Relations and French, I spent a year teaching in southern France and traveling around Europe and North Africa. I then spent some time in the US working for an education-focused Americorps program near Seattle and a French immersion charter school in Portland. Throughout all of these experiences, I have seen the importance of meaningful dialogue and personal understanding when helping people meet their objectives. The most profound ideas I have been able to communicate to my students have many times been influenced by the things they have taught me; I thus believe that a good education requires teachers who are flexible with and attentive to their students.

In effect, I find that equal access to good education is an essential building block in working toward development. No one is better equipped to fight against global poverty, with all of its cultural complexities and various social contexts, than the people who know these societies and political and economic structures as their own; however, this requires that they be provided with valuable educational opportunities. This is why I am so excited to be a part of Expo, as we will be working with Ghanaians to create a sustainable educational system that encourages conceptual understanding and empowers students by showing them that they are capable of choosing and attaining their career goals.

Wish me luck for the next couple weeks, during which I will be starting my peer-to-peer tutoring program and helping my section of the Girls’ Leadership Program to plan and implement a community service project! Thanks so much for your support!

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