DURHAM, N.C.—Lambert Ngenzi has been selected by his classmates to be student speaker at the Nicholas School of the Environment’s Professional Student Recognition Ceremony on May 13.

Ngenzi, who will graduate this weekend with a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) in water resources management, will address his fellow graduating students and their guests in a private ceremony at 9 a.m. at Wilson Recreation Center on Duke’s West Campus.

More than 270 students earning MEM, Master of Forestry, Duke Environmental Leadership Master of Environmental Management, or International Master of Environmental Management degrees will be recognized at the ceremony.

Originally from the Republic of Congo, Ngenzi and his family immigrated to the United States in 1994 to escape the genocide taking place in their homeland at that time.

In 2019, he graduated magna cum laude from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science, with a concentration in water resources management and a minor in GIS studies. At Washington State, he was a McNair Scholar and a Doris Duke Conservation Schola.

Following graduation, Ngenzi moved to Uganda to work as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. He led community-based bee conservation projects in Kibale National Park, a biodiversity hotspot and home to many endangered species, until June 2020, when he was forced to evacuate and return to the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the next year, he worked remotely as a GIS intern at River Partners, an environmental NGO, and as an analyst at a conservation-focused firm in New York City.

He began his MEM studies in 2021 and is a member of the school’s Nicholas Scholars Program—the most prestigious merit award the school offers to professional master’s students.

He is also a member of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s highly competitive Payne Fellows program, which trains promising young scholars for careers in international development.

Following graduation, Ngenzi—who speaks French, Lingala, and Kinyarwanda, in addition to English—will work as an environmental officer at USAID, where he plans to continue to pursue his passion for addressing pressing environmental issues around the world.