International Day of Women and Girls in Science: Meet Sylvia Ngari

Tomorrow will mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

‘Women in STEM’ has always been a passionate subject to me and I always like to see young girls and women bold enough to lead the way in this industry.

Check out my last article on how the tech landscape in Kenya is changing and how different programs have come up to support women in technology.

At Shaboard, we always celebrate what women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are doing to positively impact the industry and contribute towards reducing the digital gender divide.

I sought to find out how some of the Equity Leaders Program beneficiaries are fairing on and how the program has shaped their tech careers.

In that spirit of celebrating women in technology, meet Sylvia Ngari, a student at Kenyatta University pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. She is a beneficiary of the Equity Leaders Program.

Here is our short and sweet interview;

Why did you choose to explore studies and a career in science?

I always loved sciences and math. They were my favourites. In high school I did all sciences, Computer Studies and Geography and I couldn’t have made a better choice. Math is fun and I just had to continue with it in University. I chose Electrical Engineering since it’s versatile. Applies in almost every other field you can think of.  

Are there any women who have inspired your career choice and if so who and how?

Marie Curie is an inspiration. She has several firsts to her name. First woman to have a Nobel Prize. First person (both male and female) to earn it twice and first female professor in the university she studied in (Sorbonne University). Her discovery of  radioactivity still shapes the world today!! She was a great lady scientist whose level of excellence and commitment to her work motivates me to be the best I can. Did I mention her daughter followed in her footsteps? Great way to pass on the mantle. 

What are the challenges you have faced as a woman in science?

I haven’t faced any challenges that are unique to women. We’ve all been put on the same level and there’s no difference between male and female as far as education is concerned. The normal challenges of workload are common to all.  

23 year old Sylvia Ngari, an Alumnus of the Equity Leaders Program and currently an Electrical Engineering Student at Kenyatta University.

Did ELP prepare you for the journey ahead? If so how?

Yes, ELP prepared me for the journey. It connected me with similar minded peers and a host of mentors who were pursuing courses in STEM. They helped form an even stronger conviction that I had chosen the right path.

Are there many girls from ELP pursuing careers / education in science? How have you inspired each other?

Yes, many of them are pursuing careers in science. A good number take Engineering or Computer Science. We have inspired each other by pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones.

Every so often we see one of us making an achievement and it motivates the rest to also push their limits. 

Do you have a leadership role in any science affiliated associations?

Currently, no. However, I just completed my term in office as the treasurer of IEEE Kenyatta University Student Branch. I am also serving as the class rep for my class of 55 students for the past 5 years.

Where do you see yourself in future?

I see myself as a practicing engineer making an impact through my work: especially in the agricultural field.

What would you tell your younger self or those behind you about being a woman in science?

Science is fun, go the whole mile with it.

Any partying shot?

Wherever your heart is, make sure you stay there. To ladies out there who love science, there’s more than enough room for you.


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