"My dream is to see Africa gradually excel in research, especially in Mathematics", says Dr. David Angwenyi. After his PhD in Germany in Mathematics at the University in Potsdam, David relocated back to Kenya to support his dream.
Indeed dreams do come true. I had a very challenging education background after joining a day school for my high school education. My zeal, motivation and positive attitude have made me come this far in my academic life. I am very delighted and happy having successfully defended my PhD in Germany and returned back to Kenya to support research in Africa. A big thank you to the DAAD for the great financial support during my studies.
My Academic Path
In 2010, I was in my final year at Kenya Science Campus of the University of Nairobi. Mid that year my friend and I secured a place at Starehe Boys Centre and School, where we did our teaching practice. My fondest ambition then was to be a high school teacher of note. It was my first time to enter a national school; for, as you all know, I studied at Mochenwa Secondary School, a day school, down there in Nyamira district.
Things took a different turn before graduating the following year. We had finished course work, and I used to frequent one of the cyber cafes at Kiserian town—which was nearest to my relation’s place where I was putting up at the time—where I sighted an advert made by Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) requiring graduates from Kenyan universities for a staff development scholarship, to study for a masters degree in one of the universities within the country. There was one slot for a Mathematics major. I applied and secured it later after graduating, and that is how I narrowly missed being a high school teacher.
Two years down the line I went down to MMUST to take my place, as an assistant lecturer, at the department of Mathematics after completing my studies at the School of Mathematics, Chiromo Campus. That was in September, 2013. Then there was this requirement by the Commission of University Education to have all University lecturers hold a PhD.
Up until then, I had not set foot—leave alone think about studying—outside the country. Early 2014, I saw an advert in these alleys made by the DAAD offering a place for a proposal writing seminar to those who intended to do their doctoral research in Germany. This I applied for, and luckily secured it.
I came to learn whilst in the proposal writing seminars, that the hardest part in securing the DAAD scholarship was to get a German supervisor. One could try online, but most of them, we were told, valued recommendations. The deadline for making applications was at the end of September that year.
As chance and sheer luck would have it, I secured a place in the Hands-on-Research conference that was to be held in Trieste, Italy, at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), which was scheduled in June that year. It is in this conference that I met Professor Brian Hunt, of Maryland University, USA, who, after disclosing to him my desire to secure DAAD scholarship and the area of my interest, graciously offered to connect me to a professor in Germany, based at the University of Potsdam. That is how, in brief, I got a supervisor.
To cut the long story short, later that year, I applied for and secured the DAAD scholarship, which was a package that comprised of a 6 months’ german language course, and a 3 years’ doctoral studies in Germany. Needless to say, all these I took, and the studies came to an end in September this year, as you already know.
A few things I have learnt in this decade are these: that none can take what is meant for you; that independence is hard yet rewarding; that focus and hard work can clear those things that seem insurmountable at first sight; that we limit ourselves in our minds; that none can look down upon one that is putting in his honest, personal best; and, finally, that we shall always overcome if we so wish and will.
My Relocation to Kenya
My dream is to see Africa gradually excel in Research, especially in Mathematics. This is what motivated me to relocate back to Kenya. I am currently working at Masinde Muliro University in Kenya and I am a happy returnee and grateful especially for the financial support that we are currently receiving from Centre for Immigration and Migration (CIM). CIM is a German organization that has greatly supported brain gain and research in Africa by supporting returnees to have a soft landing back to their countries.
May our good Lord, to whom we are capitally grateful for His leadings this past decade, so guide and lead us in the ensuing decade, that we may attain our personal best.