Five years ago, Rice sophomore and Baker Institute intern Shannon McNamara started SHARE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering girls in Africa through education. Since then, she has traveled to Tanzania every summer, having raised funds during the school year to create reading programs for girls, build libraries in schools, provide schools with electricity, and give deserving girls scholarships to secondary school. The program has now donated more than 33,000 books to students in three African countries.
Recently, Forbes magazine interviewed McNamara about SHARE for a series called "The Fixer," which highlights problems being solved by a new generation of women.
The program has been recognized by the Obama administration, which in 2011 invited McNamara to deliver an address at the White House for an International Woman"s Day 100th anniversary celebration hosted by Michelle Obama. Shannon has also received the Daily Point of Light Award, a program established by President George H.W. Bush, and blogged about her experiences in Tanzania for a White House website called "Winning the Future: President Obama and Young Americans."
McNamara, now 19, is a Lovett College resident from New Jersey.