Graduate Student Gladys Ngetich Named as One of "UK Top 10 Rare Rising Stars"
DPhil candidate in Aerospace Engineering Gladys Ngetich has been named as one of Rare Recruitment's "UK Top 10 Rare Rising Stars" of 2018 and she received her award at a ceremony on 12th July.
The Rare Rising Stars programme is designed to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the best black students in the UK, and to share their stories. Judges on the panel include: Sophie Chandauka, Trevor Phillips OBE and Jean Tomlin OBE. Of her award, Gladys says: "The award ceremony was on 12th July; it has been more than 10 days and I must confess that I have not recovered from mixed feelings of excitement and disbelief. I come from a very humble background and I have had to navigate a lot of challenges to get to where I am. Thus, this award means a lot to me. My hope is that it will inspire students with humble backgrounds like mine".
Born and raised in the small village of Amalo, Kenya, Gladys credits the support of her mother in encouraging her to continue her education and follow her dream of becoming an Aerospace Engineer. Through her determination, she graduated from High School with the highest grades of any student in her district, and won a James Finlay Scholarship which enabled her to pursue her undergraduate degree (a BSc in Mechanical Engineering) at Kenya's top engineering university - Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), graduating with distinction in 2015 and winning several awards along the way.
Due to her exceptional academic performance, the leadership qualities she had illustrated throughout her studies, and also her sports achievements (Gladys won 3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals in athletics in the Kenya University Games), Gladys was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to pursue her DPhil in Engineering Science here in Oxford. During her time here so far, Gladys has received a patent in collaboration with Rolls Royce Plc, has been interviewed by BBC Science and was also awarded the ASME IGTI Young Engineer Turbo Expo Participation Award, which resulted in her presenting a paper at the annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) conference. Gladys also tutors Oriel engineering undergraduates.
In addition to her academic achievements, Gladys also works to inspire other young women. In April 2018, she was awarded the Skoll World Forum Fellowship as a budding inspirational social entrepreneur, and she is co-founder and CEO of the ILUU Organisation in Nairobi which mentors and inspires girls from rural parts of Kenya. She has also been shortlisted for the McKinsey & Company Next Generation Women Leaders Award. Intent on encouraging the next generation of female engineers, Gladys served on the EngineerGirl Markers Panel and she is currently working with the Beyond Boundaries Project and IF Oxford Science Festival to organise exciting projects aimed at raising the profile of black women in engineering.
Speaking about her additional work to inspire young women to continue their educations and to consider careers in STEM, Gladys says: "I come from a very humble background and so I like encouraging students from such backgrounds to 'keep going, give your all, keep stretching beyond your comfort zone, keep dreaming because no one knows what the future holds'".