Dr. Elizabeth Itotia
I am currently working as a Radiopharmacist at Kenyatta University, Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital. Being a top student and a prize recipient positively impacted my rapid career progression. It was a selling point at most job interviews that made me stand out from the rest. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to be offered a scholarship by the International Atomic Energy Agency to study a Masters Degree in Radiopharmacy in Pretoria, South Africa, courtesy of being a top student. I have therefore been able to achieve my masters degree just 3 years post undergraduate. I just came back last week.
My advice to the current students is to always aim for excellence. As Aristotle onçe said; 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit'. Be the best in the room.
Joseph Ondari is a Leather Industrial Development Officer at Kenya Leather Development Council
How being a top student and prize recipient has impacted your life and career prospects
I must admit that being a top student has opened many doors for me, both in academia and my career. Good grades have always been an indication of my ability to learn, a discipline to work hard and a motivation to achieve more than my peers. This, however, did not guarantee me jobs but offered me interview opportunities with great firms where I could prove my knowledge and skills.
On how this has impacted my life. I have been able to secure lucrative opportunities that have propelled my career growth while learning from the best. Being the top student in my college and faculty earned me a fully-funded Master’s degree scholarship from the University of Nairobi and awards that have helped me set foot through doors I never thought I would have access to. I am grateful to God, my family, lecturers, classmates and the University of Nairobi who have been instrumental in achieving these milestones.
A message for current students
I joined the University of Nairobi as part of the first cohort group in the BSc program, Leather Science and Technology. As were my classmates, I felt lost and did not know what the future held. Fast forward to the present day, I hold a Master's degree in Leather Science from the University of Nairobi and boast a good mastery and knowledge of the field little was known of.
Student life is a beautiful, yet hectic part of life. People go through all kinds of struggles during this time. Nonetheless, you should note that just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible. The path towards attaining your degree is one filled with excitement, lots of expectations, the occasional discouragement and rough patches that are inevitable in the journey towards the achievement of major goals in life. I devoted my time to excel in my field and I have begun to rip the fruits of those sacrifices. You too can be the best at what you do and what you are studying towards. However, success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. I encourage you to strive to get those As, be active in that extracurricular activity you love, network with your peers and lecturers constructively, explore opportunities that come your way and keep a positive mindset as a man is but the products of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.
Where are you in your career?
My name is Judy Too. I am currently a PhD Researcher pursuing my research under a joint PhD Programme between the University of Manchester and the University of Melbourne. My research examines the extent of carbon emissions in the design, construction, use and end of life phases of complex infrastructure projects and explores innovative strategies for decarbonisation at optimal cost to achieve carbon neutrality as per the Paris Agreement.
How did being a top student and price recipient impact your life and career prospects?
The awards I received have opened several opportunities for me to pursue further education. I was a beneficiary of the 2018/2019 Swire Scholarship award to pursue my Master’s degree in the United Kingdom. After completing my master’s, I was fortunate to be awarded two PhD scholarships; one by the Commonwealth and the other by the Global Doctoral Research Network Programme offered by the University of Manchester, which I am currently funded by.
I am truly indebted to the University of Nairobi and more specifically the Department of Environmental and Biosystems Engineering for setting a solid foundation for my academic journey by providing a fully rewarding education experience. I hope to be able to pay it forward to the UoN fraternity.
What message do you have for the current students?
Your hard work, dedication, perseverance and experiences at a world-class university are preparing you to be a solution to some of the world’s greatest problems and threats. Our country and the world needs leaders who will provide holistic solutions for the water crisis, ensure we all have access to quality healthcare, solve injustices in our society and, provide solutions for mitigating the effects of climate change. So, I challenge you to be a leader in your field and strive to make a difference, no matter how small!
We must also always strive to act with integrity because “when you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity – regardless of what others may do – you are destined for greatness” ~ Napoleon Hill
Finally, I would urge you to horn a skill and be excellent at it. This will make you stand out and open several opportunities for you.
To the recipients of this year’s academic prizes, Congratulations! The world is your oyster!
Where you work and your role
My name is Amitoj Singh . I am a qualified actuary currently working at Britam Holdings PLC where I am involved in all areas of actuarial support provided to the Microinsurance and International general insurance entities that the company operates across Eastern and Southern Africa. This includes everything from product development to capital management as well as valuation of liabilities, financial reporting and business projections amongst other things.
How has being a top student and prize recipient impacted your life and career prospects? Being recognized as the top student at the University’s 55th Graduation ceremony has been one of my life’s greatest achievements. When I joined the university 4 years prior to this, I certainly had not anticipated anything close to this. The award certainly inspired me to think bigger as well as set and pursue higher career goals within the actuarial profession. It was indeed a great motivator and stepping stone in allowing me to complete my journey to achieving fellowship status within the profession. The award and the recognition certainly also enhanced my career profile and prospects where I was offered a number of opportunities to work for a number of reputable organizations.
A message for current students. I would encourage all students to pursue their studies with the same level of passion and commitment that got them into this reputable university. Your time at the university will be one of your founding blocks to success. I truly believe that if you want to be great at something, then you must give it your all. As Walt Disney once said “All our dreams can come true- if we have the courage to pursue them.” You must listen to that little voice inside you that says, “I can do this” and believe in yourself. Don’t forget to have fun while you are at it!