In 2004, Solomon Kassa, GWSB MS ’11, left his homeland, Ethiopia, to pursue a career in his dual passions: science and technology. In 2011 he earned a Master of Science in systems technology management from the George Washington University, and in 2012, he launched a weekly science and technology show, hosting the broadcast in his native language, Amharic.
The show, titled TechTalk with Solomon, can be seen on Ethiopian Broadcasting Services (EBS) in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. In each episode, Solomon interviews subject matter experts who enlighten viewers on recent science and technology developments, applications, and uncharted areas of exploration. The more than 100 weekly sessions have covered such diverse topics as robotics, space exploration, industrial design, transportation technology, construction engineering, aviation, and futuristic innovations.
“The vision of my show is to bring awareness of the technology and science world by engaging its viewers in an educational and entertaining fashion,” says Solomon. “The show also strives to bridge the technology gap between the developed and developing worlds.”
The only show of its kind broadcast in Amharic, Solomon chose to produce the show in Ethiopia’s official language so that he may inspire native speakers to explore science and technology as potential careers. Solomon feels his show has the potential to “play a role in transforming a country with over 90 million people,” and that the key to this influence is communicating the latest technology and scientific findings in Amharic. In recognition of his contribution, Solomon received the 2016 Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) award for his extraordinary commitment to bringing science and technology to millions in his native language, Amharic. Solomon was also recognized as an ambassador of science and technology by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Ethiopia for advancing STEM in the country.
“I am producing/hosting the show on a part-time basis to give back to the community in my home country and other fellow Ethiopian-Americans here in the USA,” says Solomon. The show has gained a wide following in Ethiopia and draws viewers from a variety of demographics, largely because of the show’s easy-to-understand explanation of how things work.
Solomon is also writing a book in his native language on—of course—science and technology. “The book will be a one-of-a-kind Amharic publication with the aim of reaching a population of 90+ million. It will cover science and technology from a different perspective—through history, major events, the present, and the future,” he says. “Also, as a black writer, I will include black people’s contribution, and a discussion about why Africa is lagging behind.”
As a naturalized citizen of the United States, Solomon is passionate about his adopted country’s leadership in both science and technology, and takes great pleasure in sharing this enthusiasm with his country of origin. “The publication of my book will kill two birds with one stone for me,” he says. At this writing, the book is about 80 percent complete, with a projected length of 350 pages.
Quite an undertaking for someone who works full time as a senior consultant for Deloitte. Solomon credits his time at GW with preparing him for his consulting career and his commensurate technology pursuits. He was initially attracted to the university because of its historical significance and its location near the nation’s capital. “GW boasts such accomplished alumni as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and actress Kerry Washington,” he says, “and I am inspired to be part of that great family.” —Mary Follin