In 2018, Purity Ngina made history by becoming Kenya’s youngest PhD holder in Biomathematics at the age of 28.
Despite flopping in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations by scoring 235 marks, she rose to become an academic giant in the country.
Purity worked as a lecturer of calculus at Strathmore University. She taught students at the university pursuing Actuarial Science, Financial Engineering and Financial Economics. Ms Purity Ngina is a research and assessment manager at Zizi Afrique Foundation.
She was born in a village called Mbiriri in Nyeri as the last born in a family of two. They were single handedly raised by their mother who was a casual laborer. Life was not easy and they hardly had enough money to live on.
She first sat for her KCPE examination in 2002 but her dismal performance impelled her to re-sit the exams in 2003. At first, she didn’t want to go back to school.
Her mother convinced her and promised to take her to secondary school if she did well. This was the motivation she needed and the value of education finally sank into her. She scored 369 marks and was admitted to Tumu Tumu Girls.
There was no money and she had to stay at home for a while. She also got her first pair of shoes which belonged to her cousin and couldn’t even fit properly.
She also had strong mother tongue influence having been raised up in the village which made her a laughingstock.
Her situation motivated her to work hard and at the end she scored a B+. At the time, students had to wait for two years before joining university.
Purity went to Nairobi where she worked as a house help. She then returned to the village and worked as an untrained teacher.
In her first year on campus, she secured a Sh16,000 scholarship. She finally graduated with First Class Honors. This earned her a full scholarship to pursue a Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics.
In 2015, she graduated with a Masters degree and was on the Vice Chancellor’s list of honor for exceptional performance. Upon graduation, she was invited to teach at Strathmore University.
married the man she met at Egerton University while she was pursuing her undergraduate degree. Germano Mugambi was an engineering major who also graduated with First Class Honors and was awarded a scholarship which saw him go to Germany.