Building a better future

UNB alumna Dr. Kate Rogers spent a year in Sierra Leone with the World Bank's Justice for the Poor program.

After more than a year working to help people in one of the world's poorest nations, the tale of the man who wanted a better future for his son stands out for Dr. Kate Rogers.

The man was a poor, rural taxi driver in Sierra Leone, a small nation in West Africa that is slowly recovering from a nearly decade-long civil war. His wish was simple — he wanted his son to go to school.

Rogers worked with the taxi driver's family to help prepare the boy for school and have him placed in the right grade.

“To see the family once he was attending school was terrific," she says.

Rogers, a Bachelor of Arts history honours graduate of the University of New Brunswick, has spent the last nine years studying and working in international development. From November 2007 to this past November, Rogers worked for the World Bank's Justice for the Poor program in Sierra Leone.

She's now working for UNICEF in New York on civil society partnerships.

A passion for helping others

Sierra Leone is a beautiful country trapped in desperate poverty, says Rogers. It has the lowest score on the United Nations' Human Development Index. The human development index is a method used by the UN to gauge a country's progress by measuring life expectancy, literacy and per capita gross domestic product.

Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, established an electricity supply in January, and it is erratic at best.

It's clear from the way she describes her work that Rogers has a passion for helping others. Even while witnessing the most dire situations, Rogers says what keeps her motivated is the potential for change and betterment.

“When good things happen it's phenomenal to watch.”

Getting a great start at UNB

Rogers credits her education and experience at UNB with putting her on a path to make the world a better place. During her time at UNB, Rogers was active in student government, serving as the president and chief executive officer of the Student Union. She also worked for the student newspaper, The Brunswickan.

After she graduated from UNB in 1999, Rogers became a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where she completed her master's degree in International Relations in 2002 and PhD in International Development in 2007. She also did an internship with the Canadian International Development Agency in Kenya as well as research work on child labour for UNICEF.

Rogers says her UNB education prepared her to pursue further studies at Oxford, England.

“It was a very solid, well-rounded education that I received from UNB,” she says.

A particular strength of UNB is the interest faculty take in the success of their students.

“That's something you won't find at the bigger institutions.”