28 year old Purity Ngina from Nyeri County is the youngest PhD holder in Kenya.
Born and raised in Mbiriri village at the foothills of Mt Kenya, Dr Purity Ngina could not in her wildest dreams imagine that one day she would be Kenya’s youngest Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduate.
Dr Ngina graduated in June 2018 with a PhD in Boimathematics from Strathmore University, a feat that got her name in the Kenyan history books as the youngest PhD holder in the country.
To her neighbors back in the village, Dr Ngina is a medical doctor and she admits to having lots of difficulties explaining to them that she is not a medical doctor.
“It is difficult to convince some of them that I am not a doctor in the medical field,” Ngina says.
She is jovial and bursts into laughter often.
But she puts on a serious face when explaining the relationship between HIV and mathematics, which was the subject of her PhD thesis.
Dr Ngina comes from a humble background and is nostalgic about how she used to go to school without shoes and how she used to fetch water over 3km from her home from River Sagana.
The last born in a family of two scored 235 marks in her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations. Her late mother, Lydia Ngina, was not amused and prevailed upon her to repeat class eight and work harder. She managed to get 368 marks.
She was admitted to Tumu Tumu High School in Nyeri.
After struggling to pay her school fees throughout high school, she managed to score B+ and was admitted to Egerton University to study for a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
She was then offered a full scholarship to pursue a Masters in Applied Mathematics after getting First Class honours degree, in 2013.
In 2016, she joined Strathmore University as an assistant lecturer. The German Academic Exchange Service paid her PhD tuition fee.
On June 29, she was among the three doctorate graduates at the Strathmore University.
Ngina now hopes to mentor girls to pursue Math.