Reflections of a Graduand- The Civil Engineering Experience

The tag line on everyone’s lips right now is “I will be graduating!

The hashtag #JKUAT28thGRAD

The event; JKUAT’s 28th Graduation Ceremony which will be held on Friday, 25th November 2016. This Friday.

Is it real enough yet? No? Well, start gearing up, it is as real as it gets.

Excitement is in the air. I feel like a kid again, where you knew something big was happening and couldn’t wait for the decorations to go up and celebrations to begin.

I don’t think I was this excited on my own graduation day.

But this isn’t about me, this is about the current 4861 graduands waiting for Friday.

It has been quite the journey for most of these people and these 3 bright chaps from Civil Engineering are here to tell us their story.

Meet Miriam Nyaboke Sagini, Byebi Basema Fabrice and Stella Kimani, from the Civil Engineering Graduate class of 2016.

Congratulations guys!

  • Describe yourself in 5 words or so.

Fabrice: I am sociable, aggressive and a Congolese national who has the ability to adapt to various environments. I speak French, English, lingala, Swahili and mashi(my mother tongue).

Byebi Basema Fabrice

Miriam: I’m calm, talkative, aggressive, social but shy.

Miriam Nyaboke Sagini

Stella: I am not your typical African girl, I am passionate about making the world a better place and a strong believer of trans-formative leadership.

Stella Kimani
  • Why JKUAT as your University of Choice and why the choice of this specific program?

Fabrice: I came to understand that University of Nairobi is a big university, but when it comes to engineering and technology, JKUAT was actually the best. This got me interested in knowing more about it.

Stella: I always wanted to do engineering and JKUAT being the best university in engineering, it just stole my heart. Civil Engineering was the among the engineering courses that I knew all too well what it entailed; I actually still think of it as the mother of all Engineering disciplines.

Miriam: I had heard of JKUAT a lot when I was still in high school from my friends and older cousins. My first choice of course during the revision wasn’t Civil engineering actually, it was Architecture. Civil engineering was my second choice. I was called for Civil engineering, I was going to change my course, but on the last day, my uncle, a professor in the BEED department advised me to stick to civil engineering. I listened. Right now I really love what I do and I’m grateful to him for ever taking the time out to explain it to me.

  • Students/staff who made this experience worthwhile?

Stella: Everyone in class was good and friendly.

One member of staff who made my experience worthwhile is The Dean of Students, Mrs Emma Omulokoli. I love her governance and her passion towards her work. She mentored me when I was a student leader and I don’t think I would have achieved half the things I did if not by her guidance.

Miriam: For the students, I think my classmates come first. I have shared so many experiences with almost all of them, in the class dinners we’d organised on annual basis, workshop practices we’d attend, the laboratory practicals and general classroom relationships. I think our class was very unique because despite the many cliques that are normal everywhere, we still clicked together as a class.

For staff, Prof. Kaluli Wambua of the BEED made my five years worthwhile.

Fabrice: Particularly classmates and other students from the civil engineering department but also from the entire faculty of engineering really helped a lot. We shared both school and life experience.

Staff who made this experience,I would like to mention a few:

Mrs. Purity Kibetu, the former chair lady of the department, Prof. Wariara, the Director of the Alumni and International Students Organisation (ALISO); She has helped me and other foreign students feel at home and know Kenya better.

Dr. Kazungu Maitaria, our Hydraulics lecturer and a friend, last but not least, Ms. Lydia Ehaba, our computer lab technician and a very good friend. I can’t even begin to list all the things she has done for us as a class and myself personally.

  • Activities outside class you participated in?

Stella: I was a student leader; The External Affairs Secretary in the year 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. I also participated in the Miss JKUAT Pageant and other small pageants like Miss Hall 4. I was also an active member of the YCS community in the Catholic Union.

Fabrice: I was a member of The JKUAT Society of Engineering Student (SES) since first year, The JKUAT Environmental Management Association (JEMA),where I once served as the external affairs secretary and the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE).

Miriam: I am all rounded. I participated in the JKUAT Tech Expo  in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, my classmate and I came in second.

I was also an active member of the Christian ministry; JKUAT Christian Union (CU) where I learnt how to play the acoustic and electric guitars.

I planned our class dinners which were annual, from 2013 to 2016. In these forums, students in the civil engineering fraternity would interact formally with lecturers outside the classroom setup, and engineers that practice also.


  • Best memory in JKUAT

Fabrice: Even though I am tempted to say I enjoyed the period of internal attachment, I still believe my graduation day will be my best memory in JKUAT.

Miriam: My best memory; September and October 2013. We were doing our internal attachment. It was so much fun and such an awesome learning experience .

Stella: I could pick one of them: the campaign period. Going to all JKUAT campuses collecting signatures for nomination, that was phenomenal! Sitting in the student governing council and being able to organize big events and make decisions, attend conferences to represent the university.

  • Anything you’d want to go back and change?

Miriam:Yeah, I wish that the facilities for practicals could be increased. My class was just 70 and we were just enough. The class behind is almost double our number, and they are using same facilities.

Fabrice: Yes, when I was a first year there are things I did not take advantage of and other things I hadn’t figured out yet. I joined JKUAT after just 3 months of training in English hence, I wasn’t really fluent in it. If I had the chance I would go back; enjoy my first year to the fullest and get straight A’s in those theoretical units. The language barrier made it a little tricky.

Stella: If I would go back to 1st year, I would join a lot of clubs(say 10) and became an active member. I only got to work with clubs and societies after I became a student leader.

  • Parting Shot

Stella: Everyone graduates eventually, it’s the other experiences in campus that differentiate you from every other graduate. Am so excited to complete my undergraduate I feel I could now take the world by its horns.

Fabrice: Knowledge is power and time is money. Money and power go together, If one wants any of these, they should be ready to sacrifice. I believe we all go to school for one reason or another and the only way to achieve our goals is to be prepared to sacrifice for it. So, I urge students to do their best while in school, be honest, learn as much as they can both academically and life wise and also to keep healthy and always strive to make themselves better persons, both it professionally and as a social being.

Miriam: People should strive to be the best of what they are doing. When in school, work hard in academics. But also work smart. There are opportunities to learn out there for students like expos, conferences and such like forums. It is an added advantage to attend all those without forgetting that school is the reason you get those opportunities so one has to make sure school isn’t jeopardized. Also, getting oneself in too many activities could be dangerous because one risks mediocrity in all, or risks losing one, which in most cases is school.

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