#STEMWOW WEEK 74

Meet Njeri Mwaniki, Founder of Zaidi STEM, Kenya

Njeri grew up on a flower farm in Limuru, Kenya. In 2001, she located with her parents to the USA, where she completed her high school in Chapel Hill, NC. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University, and a Masters of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She currently works as an Information Scientist at Bayer supporting the North America Crop business.

Njeri’s Bio

Njeri grew up on a flower farm in Limuru, Kenya. In 2001, she located with her parents to the USA, where she completed her high school in Chapel Hill, NC. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University, and a Masters of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She currently works as an Information Scientist at Bayer supporting the North America Crop business. She is also the Founder of Zaidi-STEM, a non-profit based in North Carolina, US. Zaidi- means “more” in Swahili.  This organization focuses on advocating STEM for the girl child in Sub-Saharan Africa. Njeri and her team accomplishes this by matching high school students with professionals in STEM, for a mentoring program through the Zaidi-Curriculum. She is also a mother. She loves to dance and travel.

Why did I get into STEM?

Growing up in an immigrant family in the USA, I was exposed to many avenues in STEM that deviated from the traditional career paths of medicine and engineering. I was able to identify a niche that matched my love for science, agriculture and people while leveraging my cultural context.

What do you consider your greatest achievements?

I consider founding Zaidi-STEM my biggest achievement. Although we are a new organization, I acknowledge that every journey begins with one step.  It took a lot of courage for me to step out of my comfort zone, and to be open to the lessons that come from running a non-profit organization.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?

Being a woman of African descent in the Agricultural Biotechnology industry, I am often a minority.  There are a few women in this industry as agriculture is also not considered an attractive or prestigious STEM career.

What is your advice to budding women in STEM?

My advice to budding women in STEM would be summed in two words –  consistency and evolution. It’s important to allow yourself and your career to evolve, technology is changing STEM careers and offering a lot of niche careers. Leave space in your career development for evolution. I would also urge women to be consistent. In some instances, you may be the only women at the table. Use this opportunity to bridge barriers and showcase the diversity women bring to a STEM dialogue.

About Njeri

Njeri grew up on a flower farm in Limuru, Kenya. In 2001, she located with her parents to the USA, where she completed her high school in Chapel Hill, NC. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University, and a Masters of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She currently works as an Information Scientist at Bayer supporting the North America Crop business.

COUNTRY

Kenya 🇰🇪

Recent STEM WOW Stories

Meet Nura Abdul-Rahman, Chevening Scholar, Masters Degree student in Information Technology at University of Glasgow, UK
Meet Nura Abdul-Rahman, Chevening Scholar, Masters Degree student in Information Technology at University of Glasgow, UK

Meet Nura Abdul-Rahman, Chevening Scholar, Masters Degree student in Information Technology at University of Glasgow, UK

Nura Abdul-Rahman is a graduate of Ashesi University with a Bachelor's Degree in Management Information Systems. She is currently a Chevening Scholar pursuing a Master’s Degree in Information Technology at University of Glasgow, UK. While in Ashesi, she participated in a semester abroad at Macalester College, USA where she majored in Computer Science.
CONTINUE READING
Meet Gugulethu Moyo, Civil Engineer at Bi Infrastructure Consultants, South Africa
Meet Gugulethu Moyo, Civil Engineer at Bi Infrastructure Consultants, South Africa

Meet Gugulethu Moyo, Civil Engineer at Bi Infrastructure Consultants, South Africa

Miss Gugulethu Moyo is a civil and water engineer practising in the South African engineering consultancy sector and has previously worked in municipal engineering in Zimbabwe. She grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe where she studied for her degree in civil and water engineering at the National University of Science and Technology and is currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy degree assessing water losses in water distribution systems focusing on the city of Bulawayo.
CONTINUE READING