Alumni Spotlight – Ruby Au – Nashville 2011

Ruby Au, has traveled near and far. Since participating in the Economics for Leaders program at Vanderbilt in Nashville, she moved to Los Angeles to attend college at Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Dornsife College. Throughout her time in college, she worked abroad in Panama, Hondurans and Cape Town.

These days however, Ruby can be found in rural Kenya running Lumen, a social enterprise organization that works with students to create a financially sustainable model for computer education.

Having the opportunity to work with international micro-businesses through college is what led Ruby on her path towards Lumen. While always interested in studying business, it wasn’t until she went to Vanderbilt University to attend Economics for Leaders (EFL), that Ruby began to think about economics as a cultural, behavioral, and human-interest issue as well.

About her EFL experience she says, “It wasn’t just about acquiring a skill set- it was also about impacting lives through the ability to apply a theoretical system of thinking to situational contexts. This largely influenced my decision to study business in university later on”.

Since then, the process of creating Lumen has been exactly that: trying to understand a different context, and innovating existing business models to fit that unique need.

Although 70% of Kenya’s population lives in rural communities, these areas are by and large cut off from the digital revolution sweeping the urban centers of the country.

Lumen helps to establish computer labs where its students work, providing market research services for development organizations. Students are then able to master project-based computer skills while also learning to analyze and think critically about issues in their community.

Lumen is currently participating it its very own crowdfunding campaign and would love your support to raise awareness about this issue! Please feel free to read more about the organization on their website at http://lumenlabs.cc/.


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