As I undertook my BSc degree in Biochemistry, I learnt of Wageningen University and desired to be part of this great community. In my desire to further my limited knowledge of science and especially in biotechnology, I made a couple of unsuccessful applications for a scholarship to undertake MSc Biotechnology programme at Wageningen UR. So, imaging my glee when, barely a month before the start of the MSc study at Wageningen, and when I had given up all hope, I got a letter of offer of WU scholarship by the Wageningen Executive board!!! This opportunity opened the gate to my long-awaited dreams, and a big turn-around in my life.
So I came to Wageningen UR with great longing and expectations, and indeed it is a great place to study and stay! The opportunities and variety of specializations at Wageningen UR are almost unlimited, and I could undertake courses that I had always looked forward to do. My experience as a student in the Biotechnology programme is that every course I have followed is up-to-date with current scientific research and therefore I feel part of what is happening around the globe on specific scientific issues and topics. The only challenge, I would say, is to keep up with the pace in the scientific world. But with the opportunities to access facilities and freely-available literature, the sky is the only limit to develop my knowledge in Biotechnology and other subjects. It is here at Wageningen that I am really motivated to think about the subject matter and be part of offering solutions to specific issues in Biotechnology. The most satisfying experience is the blend between theory and practical courses. It is here at Wageningen that I got the opportunity to develop and practice research proposals, to actually carry out the proposed experiments in the well-equipped laboratory, present findings to an audience, as well as sharpen scientific writing skills. This is very crucial for me, coming from a developing country because I will be able to directly apply the hands-on experience in my country Kenya once I go back at the end of my study, both as a research scientist and also in the fulfillment of my dream of being a university lecturer. In addition, the problem oriented studies, report writing and other numerous study methods with students from all over the globe provides an international exposure and it just overwhelmingly rich! But the most fascinating thing about the study is the opportunity and freedom to think and to express my own opinion on the subjects I am undertaking, and talk one-on-one with teachers in an accommodating atmosphere.
And here comes the best part of it, the MSc Thesis! I can hardly wait to start my six months’ research project at the laboratory of virology. This will be a crowning experience because in addition to having followed great courses in my course work, I will have a real opportunity to work on a Kenyan scientific, social and economic challenge. My study will be based on the proteomics of a newly found tsetse fly virus that interferes with rearing of tsetse flies. Tsetse fly is a thorn in the flesh in Kenya, and one of the eradication methods is use of insecticides which have obvious environmental damages. The alternative is to use sterile male technique but the virus interferes with this programme. The skills that I will gather from the work will equip me to participate in the government-supported programme for the control and eradication of tsetse fly from the Lambwe Valley in my country, and contribute towards the efforts in developing and diseminating skills in the national radiation protection framework for safe food and environment. This study opportunity at Wageningen UR will open a floodgate of other opportunities including my participation in the preservation of biological diversity and contribute to the introduction of profitable and sustainable agricultural systems in Kenya through reduction in insecticide use. Another big plus is the opportunity to do my 6 months’ internship at Siebersdorf laboratory in Austria. This is almost unforesable were it not for my being in the Wageningen UR society. Such opportunity will be another great experience with unlimited exposures in the same and related fields.
I am very confident that after the completion of my study at Wageningen UR, I will be ready to participate in scientific research both in my country Kenya and also globally. Wageningen UR has given me an experience with which anything is possible. Simply makes me feel nostalgic for the seemingly bright future!!