Meet 29-year-old Purity Ngina, Kenya’s youngest Ph.D. holder in biomathematics

January 21, 2020 at 09:30 am | Success Story

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

January 21, 2020 at 09:30 am | Success Story

Purity Ngina made history as the youngest Kenyan to acquire a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in biomathematics.

Ngina was 28 when she inked her name in Kenya’s history regarding academia.

Born and bred in Kenya’s Nyeri county, Ngina started her tertiary education at aged 19. 

While on her way to becoming the youngest Ph.D. holder in biomathematics in 2017, Ngina’s mother would pass away.

Heartbroken to the core, Ngina was shuttered. But she picked herself up and soldiered on.

And, on June 29, 2018, she graduated from Strathmore University with a Ph.D. in biomathematics, making her the youngest Kenyan to achieve that feat.

The death of Ngina’s mother had a huge psychological impact on her and nearly derailed her journey to becoming the youngest Kenyan Ph.D. holder in biomathematics.

She had to resort to drugs to fight her inability to sleep.

“For fourteen months I could not sleep without taking something, but sometimes I would say to myself, I don’t want to take these drugs. When I did not take the drugs I spent most of the time on my laptop, and I really worked,” Ngina told eDaily.

The death of Ngina’s mother made her work even harder, “because I wanted to prove to myself that as much as she was my greatest pillar, she is gone but still left someone who can stand on her own. It pushed me somehow to even work harder.”

According to eDaily, Ngina scored 235 marks out of the possible 500 in her first stab at the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).

She would repeat Class Eight a year later [2003] and score 369 marks. Thereafter, Ngina joined Tumutumu Girls High School in Nyeri County, where she sat for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2007 and scored a mean grade of B+ (Plus).

Ngina is also an Alumni of Egerton University where she studied a Bachelor of Education Degree (Sciences: Mathematics and Chemistry) between 2009 and 2013. She was then awarded a scholarship after graduating with a first-class of 75 points.

She pursued a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics at Egerton University between 2013 and 2015. She graduated when she was only 25 years old.

With the mantra “shatter the glass ceiling if you can; nothing is impossible; nothing should stop you,” Ngina said she didn’t let her background limit her vision. 

“You are the key to the door you want to open. And success is never preserved for particular individuals. It is for those who chose and do the normal things in an outstanding way. We all have the potential to be a better version of ourselves,” she said.

Ngina then enrolled for a Ph.D. program at Strathmore University in 2016 after landing scholarships with the German Government and the National Research Fund. Her Ph.D. thesis was titled “Mathematical modeling of in-vivo HIV optimal therapy and management”.

The young scholar who married last year is currently lecturing Calculus to students pursuing Actuarial Science, Financial Engineering, and Financial Economics at the Strathmore University.

She is currently 29 years old.

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