In conversation with NYSF Alumnus Jamali Kigotho
This week's alumni article comes from NYSF 2016 Alumnus Jamali Kigotho, who since completing the NYSF has been very busy working on an environmental startup, while completing a double degree at university. Here is his story:
"Even before I attended NYSF in 2016 I knew I wanted a career in STEM, the fields of engineering and physics fascinated me, although I could never have imagined the opportunities available to me until NYSF.
I am now in my third year of a double degree of Science and Engineering at Monash University. My experience with NYSF encouraged me to pursue many extra-curricular opportunities while at university. While at Monash I have volunteered as a Mentor in two different programs, travelled to Samoa with Engineers Without Borders and participated in several leadership programs. Currently I have two major projects I am working on, in addition to my studies. I am working on a peer-to-peer solar trading start-up with some other students and I am also working on a presentation for the International Conference of Sustainable Development (ICSD) which is run by the United Nations.
I began working on the solar start up after completing the Green Steps leadership program at Monash. When I applied for Green Steps I didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect. It was an absolutely amazing experience learning about sustainable development and professional practices. After the program I was accepted to undertake a consultancy project for Monash looking into the feasibility of peer-to-peer solar trading at the halls of residence. After the project our supervisor encouraged us to continue with the project which we are now turning into a start-up. I could never have imagined Green Steps would lead me down this path, however I have found it to be genuinely life changing.
My presentation for ICSD explores the intricacies of engaging high school age students in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating more opportunities for interactions between cultures. When I applied for this opportunity I didn’t have much confidence in being accepted as the vast majority of people presenting at the conference are professionals or post graduates, established in their fields. I was still motivated to apply, as it is a topic I have always been fascinated by since I grew up moving between Australia and Kenya, and I always found it incredible how much each culture can teach each other about different issues.
My biggest piece of advice for any NYSFers is to apply for any opportunity you are even slightly interested in. You can never quite tell where an opportunity might lead. Often people don’t apply for opportunities because they don’t think they have a chance at being accepted, but there are so many opportunities available that will take you in unthought of directions."
This article was kindly supplied by the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF).