In a moment of pride and achievement, Kenyatta University alumna Linet Wairimu Ng’ang’a, affectionately known as Toto, has been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for the year 2024. This fully funded postgraduate scholarship will see her pursue a DPhil in Chemistry at the University of Oxford, UK, with a particular focus on Direct Air Capture (DAC) materials research.
The announcement was met with celebration as Linet was flagged off by prominent figures, including Prof. Caroline Thoruwa (DVC-RIO), Prof. Waceke Wanjohi (DVC Academic), and members of the faculty. The send-off followed a courtesy call to the Vice-Chancellor by the Rhodes House Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, along with Frewyeni Kidane, the Trust’s Director of Advancement and International Engagement.
Linet's achievement marks a significant milestone for Kenyatta University, as she becomes the 6th Rhodes Scholar from the institution. She stands among the only two elects of the year in the Kenya constituency for this highly regarded scholarship.
Having previously earned a First-Class Honors Degree in BSc (Analytical Chemistry with Management) from the Department of Chemistry in 2022, Linet attributes her success to the invaluable mentorship provided by Dr. Mildred Nawiri, Dr. Eric Masika, and Dr. Lucy Kiruri. Her academic journey at Kenyatta University has not only equipped her with knowledge but also instilled a passion for making a meaningful impact in the field of chemistry.
At the age of 22, Linet expresses her enthusiasm and optimism for the journey ahead. Her ambitious goal is to utilize the four-year Rhodes Scholarship to foster the scale-up and fast deployment of the globally innovative DAC technology. She envisions contributing to the resolution of humanity's most profound challenge: climate change.
In Linet's own words, "This scholarship is a gateway for me to contribute actively to the ongoing efforts in addressing climate change. I am committed to making a meaningful impact through cutting-edge research and practical applications of Direct Air Capture technology." Linet Wairimu Ng’ang’a's accomplishment not only reflects her individual brilliance but also highlights Kenyatta University's commitment to nurturing exceptional talent.
As she embarks on this academic journey, there is no doubt that Linet will leave an indelible mark on the world of chemistry and contribute significantly to the global pursuit of sustainable solutions for climate change. The Kenyatta University community extends its heartfelt congratulations to Linet and eagerly anticipates the groundbreaking contributions she will make during her time at the University of Oxford.
Embarking on a transformative journey, Kenyatta University recently hosted a dynamic two-day Induction Workshop for Schools and Departmental Research, Innovation, and Outreach Boards. Themed around 'Enhancing Research and Culture within Kenyatta University,' the event commenced with a distinguished opening address by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Paul Wainaina. In his remarks, Prof. Wainaina emphasised the pivotal role of research in cultivating a vibrant academic landscape within the institution.
Guiding participants through the workshop's core objectives, Prof. Caroline Thoruwa, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Outreach, delivered an engaging presentation. Her discourse centred on describing the terms of reference for the induction, incentivising research pursuits, and highlighting the indispensable function of these boards in nurturing a culture of research, innovation, and outreach throughout the University.
The programme explored into the realm of consultancy services, with Dr. Jacob Omolo, the Director of Research, Capacity Building, and Consultancy, providing invaluable insights. Dr. Omolo expounded on the significance of capacity building through skill enhancement and resource utilisation, thereby empowering participants to leverage research support services effectively.
Turning the spotlight on innovation, incubation, and the safeguarding of intellectual property, Prof. Maina Mwangi, Director of Innovation, Incubation, and University Industry Linkages, captivated attendees. His discourse underscored the imperative of fostering collaborative partnerships among academia, industry, and government to propel innovation and facilitate commercialisation endeavours.
A captivating session on herbal medicine and its commercial applications was led by Prof. Nicholas Gikonyo, Director of the National Phytotherapeutic Centre. Prof. Gikonyo elucidated on the centre's pioneering efforts in exploring and harnessing the potential of phytotherapeutics, showcasing an array of commercially viable products derived from herbal sources.
Prof. Paul Okemo, Chairperson of the University Ranking Committee, shed light on Kenyatta University's position as the second-best university in Kenya. Prof. Okemo elucidated on the criteria employed by renowned ranking institutions such as Times Higher Education and Webometrics, emphasising parameters like visibility, transparency, scholarly excellence, and research prowess in their evaluations.
The workshop also delved into strategies for augmenting online visibility, safeguarding data integrity, and establishing scholarly profiles through platforms like Google Scholar and ORCID ID. Moreover, avenues for fostering strategic partnerships and facilitating academic mobility were explored, aligning seamlessly with the University's overarching strategic agenda.