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Mentee turned mentor: My experience as a visiting lecturer at the University of Nairobi

Sally Musungu with some of the 2nd year students
When I was invited by my mentor Dr. Felister Nzuve to be a visiting lecturer at the University of Nairobi, I was at first hesitant. I had never taken on that kind of responsibility before and I found it invigorating. The experience took me back to my undergraduate years: how helpless I felt then with little to no professional guidance or mentor to illuminate my career path.

I therefore decided to share my experience, challenges and “eureka moments” in my journey of self-discovery of opportunities available in this noble agricultural profession with students to enable them discover their potential early.

After delivering my lecture, I started delivering an important session, the mentorship. When I asked how many student chose agriculture as their career choice, sadly in a class of 80, only 10 students raised their hands. This statistic is really worrying and it got me thinking. If students pursuing agricultural courses neither chose it nor like it, what future does agriculture hold for a country that relies on agriculture and in the face of looming climate change?

Some of the students argued that little mentorship initiatives and limited opportunities for young agriculturist to showcase their ability is the reason for their despair. This compounded with negative attitude associated with the agriculture profession paints a bleak image of the future of Kenyan agriculturists.

My interaction with students also gave me chance to share links available for academic and professional guidance for self-development. The feedback I received from the mentorship program was overwhelming to say the least.  One particular student named Auther Stety was very encouraged by the talk. In his email he said “I almost gave up with my studies but thank you because you have made me to realize my potential.”

I still receive so many emails every day from students asking for assistance to do with proposal writing, internships, and scholarships among others. I am trying my best to provide guidance whenever I can and it would great if a mentorship program targeting undergraduate students is set up.I am not a mentor officially per say, I am just a mentee. Having a “proper” mentor is a recent thing to me and Dr. Felister Nzuve is a fantastic mentor!  I gather the gems she gives me and offer others in such scenario with University students: a classic case of mentee turned mentor.

Dr. Felister Nzuve inspires me personally and professionally - to work harder, be thoughtful, stay dedicated, and always be the very best version of myself. I am fortunate to have her and I would not have asked for a better mentor. Through her, I have met and interacted with many professionals in the field including Prof. John Wangai Kimenju, the Dean of students at the University of Nairobi. I envisaged more success under her skilled guidance.  

Sally Musungu with the Dean of students University of Nairobi

I am grateful to YPARD under guidance of Michelle Kovacevic for organizing such a life changing opportunity at such a pivotal time in my career. God bless YPARD!!!!


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Tuesday, 30 May 2023

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