Ngaruiya Family Fund for Undergraduate Research Scholarship


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The Ngaruiya Family Fund for Undergraduate Research "SOaR Fund" was created by the Ngaruiya family to support undergraduate mentorship and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. 

Applications are due on December 1, 2020 by midnight, CST. 

One scholarship from this fund will be awarded to the selected candidate for Spring 2021 only. 

To be considered for the Ngaruiya Family Fund for Undergraduate Research, applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be an undergraduate
  • Have an international background
  • Have demonstrated interested in research in a STEM field

Applicants must also fill out the application COMPLETELY to be considered. The application includes:

  • Biographical information
  • A personal statement
  • 3 letters of recommendation: one from a mentor and two from non-family members.
  • Identification of a faculty member who is willing to involve the applicant in their research in an impactful way
  • A defined research project, including a research project plan

About this Scholarship:

Peter Ngaruiya, the son of a late Anglican bishop of the Kenyan diocese who was recruited to an international conference in the late 1960s, was raised in Kenya his entire life. Given ties established through his father's work with the church in the U.S., Peter later funded his way in the mid- 1970s to complete a university degree in the Midwest. He was subsequently joined by his future wife, Phyllis Kimamo, a pioneer in her own right as a hardy businesswoman and serial entrepreneur. They married, had two daughters, and the rest was history.

After completing schooling, Peter and Phyllis, decided to settle in Omaha, Nebraska. Peter became one of the first black, and African, software developers at The Mutual of Omaha in the early 1980s. Phyllis opened and ran an international boutique, among ocher ventures. Both made their way with the support of a small community in Omaha. All the same, after raising their two daughters briefly in the U.S., they decided to return to Kenya where the girls completed their primary and high school education. Both daughters returned to the U.S. for advanced degrees in the University of Nebraska system.

The daughters, Drs. Katherine and Christine Ngaruiya graduated with undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Both were recipients of awards to do research through the university's UCARE program, and Christine was also an intern at UNL's Career Services, with both sites providing key mentorship. Both were on the Arts & Sciences Dean's list/ graduated with honors, and Christine was named as Outstanding International Alumnus in 2017.

Katherine majored in women's studies, and minored in sociology. Upon matriculating with her undergraduate degree, she completed a Master's in Counseling, also at UNL, and worked as a counselor in a dual diagnosis program in Lincoln. Katherine went on to graduate with her PhD in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. She is currently the owner of a consulting firm that specializes in program development, fundraising and evaluation services for nonprofits and educational institutions, and lectures at local universities on non-profit management and grant-writing. She also owns an online store, specializing in beauty, home and health and wellness products, and serves on the board of several community organizations in North Carolina.

Christine was Pre-Med with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. She went on to complete medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2010, completed residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2013, and fellowship in global health at the Yale School of Medicine in 2015 concomitantly matriculating with her Masters of Science from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Section of Global health and International Emergency Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale, and conducts chronic disease research in East Africa, including Kenya, where they were raised.

The quintessential first-generation international student's story is mired by: blended international experiences, cultural adaption, courage, leaps of faith in pursuit of dreams, the importance of connection - and mentorship. These are the tenets on which the Ngaruiya family "SOaR fund" is founded.