October 2016: Celebrating Mary and All our Teachers on World Teachers’ Day

Mary teaches students at one of YTF’s training hubs in Nairobi, Wezesha Digital Village

This Busy Student and YTF Master Trainer Is an Inspiration On World Teachers’ Day

Most days, Mary Munyoki is an ambitious student in Kenya, on the path to become an electrical engineer. Mary is also a Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) Master Trainer, passing on her love for engineering and passion for youth to secondary school age students that participate in YTF Academy in Kenya.

A final year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture And Technology, Mary’s education and work experience have afforded her critical training and even real-world experience. A project to design a new water level sensor even exposed her to knowledge of 3D printing, since she had to come up with the casing for the sensor’s gadget. This comes in handy for her work with YTF.

Mary teaches program participants basic technology skills, hardware programming using Arduino and Raspberry Pi and programming languages, like C. She is a mentor to many of the students, especially girls, helping them relate what they learn in school to real world problems how technology can be part of the solution. Mary recalls one of her students, Irene. “She always comes with an open mind, is very active in class and always willing to learn. She and many others, inspire me”.

With only 6% of women engineers in Kenya, Mary knows there is a lot still to be done. “We are proud to partner with and introduce our students to women in technology in companies like Safaricom and MasterCard. The more we can expose girls to women in technology the better, she said. “They need to see women in these roles so they understand their goals to pursue science or technology careers are attainable”.

Engineering has always been a passion for Mary. She always had an admiration for airplanes and was interested in studying aeronautical engineering. During high school, she shadowed one of the engineers who worked for Wilson Airport. Though he was pleased with her interest and choice of career, he advised that since the aviation field was not fully developed in Kenya, pursuing Electrical and Electronics Engineering may be a better option.
Mary is the third born of four children, many of whom pursued science related careers. Her older sister is a nurse, her older brother is studying Medicine and her younger brother is still in high school. Her father worked for the Government of Kenya where he retired as the Deputy Director of Agriculture and her mother is a veterinary doctor. Mary attributes the influence of her parents, siblings and mentors as being instrumental in shaping her choice to study engineering.

In celebration of World Teachers Day, YTF is grateful for Mary’s contributions to our work in Kenya. We applaud her commitment and the inspiration she is to many of the girls and students she works with at YTF.

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