Born and raised in Mbiriri village, nestled at the foothills of Mt. Kenya in Nyeri County, Dr. Purity Ngina embarked on a journey that would lead her to become Kenya’s youngest Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduateat the tender age of 28.
Dr. Ngina’s PhD research delved into the intricate relationship between HIV and mathematics, a subject that she has mastered with exceptional proficiency.
Her accomplishment, however, often draws puzzled reactions, as many presume her to be a medical doctor.
“It is difficult to convince some of them that I am not a doctor in the medical field,” Dr. Ngina chuckles, reflecting on the misconceptions.
Purity’s journey began with the simple yet profound backdrop of her village life.
She recalls attending school without shoes and having to walk 3 kilometers to fetch water from River Sagana, as the struggles of her humble beginnings served as a stepping stone toward her academic success.
As the youngest of two siblings, she faced academic challenges initially, scoring 235 marks in her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.
However, her late mother, Lydia Ngina, believed in her potential and encouraged her to repeat class eight, urging her to work harder. Purity heeded the advice and achieved a score of 368 marks, opening doors to a brighter future.
Admission to Tumu Tumu High School in Nyeri marked the next chapter of her educational journey, though financial constraints continued to challenge her pursuit of knowledge.
Nevertheless, she pressed on, ultimately achieving a B+ grade, which granted her admission to Egerton University for a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
Purity’s tenacity and academic excellence were rewarded with a full scholarship for a Masters in Applied Mathematics, following her First-Class Honors degree in 2013.
Her academic pursuits led her to Strathmore University in 2016, where she commenced her career as an assistant lecturer. The German Academic Exchange Service played a pivotal role by sponsoring her PhD tuition fees.
On June 29, 2018, she stood alongside two other doctorate graduates at Strathmore University, officially earning her PhD. Dr. Ngina now aspires to inspire and mentor young girls, encouraging them to explore the vast opportunities that mathematics offers.