Kenyan Scholars Abroad Making Kenya Proud – Two Receives Graduate Excellence Award by University of New York

By Thuothuo Anthony -Jamhuri News

Linda Wangoh and Victor Kariuki- Students at University of New York at Bringhamton
By Thuothuo Anthony- Jamhuri News

Victor Kariuki and Linda Wangoh have been named among thirty 2017 Graduate Excellence Award winners, by The State University of New York at Binghamton. The two scholars received the award that recognizes the wide variety of approaches to the advancement of knowledge on the Binghamton campus, as well as the important role played by graduate students in research at the University.

Linda Wangoh

Linda Wangoh is an alumnus of University of Nairobi, and is pursuing Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics. Her research focuses on the electronic structure and surface chemistry of functional metal oxides, using a combination of x-ray spectroscopic techniques at Binghamton.

Her work has resulted in seven publications in international journals, with three of those as the first author: Nature Communications, Chemistry of Materials and Applied Physics Letters.

Linda’s exemplary work on energy harvesting has in the past hit national headlines in the US, having contributed to securing a National Science Foundation grant to study vanadium oxides for clean hydrogen generation using solar water splitting.

She is preparing another publication while four previous ones have been featured by the Department of Energy, smart-energy community at, Scientific Briefs by the Advanced Light Source as well as EFRC (Energy Frontier Research Centers) Newsletter.

She has presented five times at regional and national meetings, including the 58th Electronic Materials Conference and the American Chemical Society Northeast Regional Meeting.

Victor Kariuki

He is described by the faculty as one with ”a brilliant, inquisitive mind and a remarkable grasp of his research”. Victor has authored four publications as the first author and is also the author/co-author, of eight peer-reviewed scientific publications and a book chapter on Sustainable Nanotechnology.

Victor was among the best in presentation at the Third Annual Conference of sustainable Nanotechnology Organization, emerging as the runner-up. He has presented at national and international conferences seven times, having won three travel awards to attend the conferences.

He mentors students in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program, and his work is at the cutting edge ”of modern polymer and analytical chemistry, and employs the latest and most rigorous experimental and theoretical techniques”. Reads a statement on Binghamton University website

Victor’s current research involves the design of a paper-based sensor platform, to enable farmers in developing countries to rapidly detect a fungus that infects yams, with a goal of enhancing food security.


In 2016, Paul Ogutu made the list of 2016 Graduate Excellence Award winners by The State University of New York at Binghamton, for transforming the attitude of students through innovative and effective methods, styles and approaches to ensure that all types of learners can understand the material.

Linda and Victor continue a trend by Kenyan academic intellectuals in the diaspora, particularly, those carrying out research.

In February, a US-based Kenyan researcher, Dr. George Njoroge, made history by securing over 100 patents under US Patent and Trade Office. A South African based Kenyan scholar, Prof Jane Catherine Ngila, also won Sh2m for science research.

In 2015, a Kenyan doctor based in Boston, Dr. George M. Kiongera, President and Chief Executive Officer of Maestro-Connections Health Systems, conducted a research that resulted in the first known and acceptable treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which was published by the nursing care journal.

Thuothuo Anthony is the senior editor at Jamhuri News