Deo Mwano: Giving back has been a healing process | New Hampshire
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Deo Mwano: Giving back has been a healing process

By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 21. 2016 12:27PM

Deo Mwano, 25



Home: Manchester

Birthplace: Democratic Republic of Congo

Family: Wife, Lakisha Mwano; two sons, Elijah Mwano, 3; and Davian Mwano, 1.

High school: Memorial High School, Mount Zion Christian School.

College/post grad degrees: New England College, MBA Strategic Leadership, Bachelor of Arts in political science international relations, Bachelor of Arts in history modern European.

Current job: College For America SNHU; learning coach team lead/manager of Community Design Partnerships, Deo Mwano Brand learning engagement designer/multi-culture activist/choreographer. I joined College for America at Southern New Hampshire University in January of 2013 as a learning coach. As part of the original pilot program, I helped developed a coaching model that enables students to succeed in a personalized online competency program. I has also helped scale the model as enrollment has grown from 200 students to over 3000. Today, I wear many hats at CFA. I study effective coaching strategies and develop training for coaches. I also oversee two unique partnerships at CFA, with Kepler University in Rwanda and the International Institute of New England. With these partners, I am working on new ways to engage and support students in competency-based education.

Key past positions held: Department of State National Passport Center, passport adjudicator.

Volunteer activities: Life Church; Manchester Ignite, 1269 Caf; dance teacher, motivational speaker, refugee expert; Boys and Girls club Manchester.

Key current professional challenge: Finding monetary funds to support Competency Based Education for under-served population.

Last major achievement: I was selected to travel to Rwanda with the President of SNHU and the Board of Trustees to visit a partner school in Rwanda I was overseeing in June 2015. I was able to witness 46 Rwandan students graduate with their AA degrees from College For America SNHU.

Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: Lack of relevant development opportunities for low-income population.

Favorite place in New Hampshire: Portsmouth.

What book are you reading now? “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal.

How do you relax? I listen to music on my headphones and reflect on my thoughts. I also enjoy watching movies to relax.

What websites do you visit most often? www.brainpickings.org, linkedin.com, www.vice.com/en_us, www.cnet.com.



MANCHESTER — Deo Mwano arrived in the United States fatherless because of political violence in his native Congo.

“It took a long time for me to cope and overcome a lot of the fear and depression and everything I dealt with that I witnessed at such a young age,” said Mwano, who came to the United States at age 9 in 2000 following his father’s assassination.

“It is very vibrant in everything that I do,” the 25-year-old Manchester resident said. “Being able to give back was a healing process for me.”

Mwano is a learning coach and helps design competency-based degree programs for working adults at College for America.

Many of his students are blue-collar workers.

“They can’t move forward in their area because they don’t have a degree,” Mwano said.

He also was founder of Movement from Above, a dance group that performs for and motivates students at school assemblies. He teaches hip-hop dance classes that bring together students of different ethnicities.

“Helping improve the lives of students and helping businesses to become culturally diverse,” he said.

Mwano also runs an after-school program, at Hillside Middle School, titled Bring It! to encourage students to explore their creative sides.

Mwano, who previously taught dance courses at Southern New Hampshire University, said he enjoys helping refugees get accustomed to New Hampshire.

“Deo’s energy and positivity are infectious and inspire everyone around him to be better,” said friend David Casinghino, who nominated Mwano. “He has the unique ability to engage and empower students through his genuine passion for movement and dance.”

Said Casinghino: “He is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with hard work and a positive attitude, especially for Manchester’s refugee community.”


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