What is your previous work experience?
I have worked for over two and a half years as an analyst in a consulting firm based in Nairobi, EED Advisory, providing services in the energy sector across East Africa. These services include project and program design, market and energy resource assessments, program monitoring and evaluation among others. In this time, I have managed various energy access assignments some of the most memorable ones being a nationwide study on the Solar Water Heating sector in Kenya for the Energy Regulatory Commission; a feasibility study on improved cooking solutions in low income urban areas in Nairobi for the Netherlands development agency (SNV) and; the Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA) Impact Survey for Kenya Power funded by the World Bank to assess strategies employed in the GPOBA slum electrification work as well as the socio-economic impact of the electricity access. I have also assisted in several survey-based projects building my expertise in data collection and analysis which I hope to refine while at the Nicholas school.

Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
I choose the MEM program, Energy and Environment concentration at Duke’s Nicholas School because it takes a multidisciplinary approach to focus on the core competencies needed to address the broad spectrum of issues affecting the global energy sector. The program also emphasizes the development of analytical skills a clear goal for my graduate studies. Aside from the Energy and Environment curriculum benefits, the Nicholas school as well as the greater Duke University has programs, initiatives and researchers working on various sustainable energy projects that are of interest to me such as the work taking place in the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI), Energy Initiative and Global Energy Access Network (GLEAN) that I would want to both learn from and participate in.

Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
I would like to focus my studies on areas relevant to universal energy access. I am particularly interested in understanding the potential of renewable energy systems and decentralized energy systems to address energy poverty. I am also interested in learning data driven evaluation tools to assess the affordability, reliability and sustainability of energy access interventions.

What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?I am looking forward to learning foundational, cross cutting energy concepts from the world class instructors at the Nicholas School and engaging with the diverse Nicholas School graduates on common energy and environmental interests. I am also excited to tap into the various professional development opportunities availed by the Nicholas school ranging from the networking opportunities with alumni and energy organizations to the specialized services provided by the career services team.

What future plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
After the Nicholas School, my ambition is to be actively engaged in professional work that provides solutions to energy access issues affecting the developing world. At the moment, this seems to fit a career as a development consultant working in the energy sector. However, I am keen to broaden my perspective while at the Nicholas School and explore similar or alternative career paths towards the same goal.  

Personal thanks:
I am very grateful for your generous contribution towards the Nicholas Scholars Program, without which I would not have been able to take up this life changing opportunity at Duke University. As an international student from Kenya, I am privileged to be a recipient of your support and I intend to use this opportunity to play a more instrumental role in combating the pressing energy needs faced by my society.