Marietta Kazungu, an 18-year-old student from St Thomas Girls Secondary School in Kilifi is among 10 students in the African continent who have been shortlisted for a Sh. 14 million prize from Chegg.org Global Student Prize.
She was selected among 3,851 entries across 122 countries; of whom only 50 students globally made the cut for their innovative ideas in the learning field.
In its 3rd year, the Global Student Prize aims to recognize extraordinary students who have demonstrated a profound impact on education, the lives of their peers and society at large.
“Marrieta is working to combat the impact on young people growing up in remote rural areas of Kenya, where poverty is widespread, access to good healthcare is a challenge and girls are seen as second-class citizens,” Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2023 wrote.
“Marrieta has developed a passion for science and technology, with a particular interest in how to provide better healthcare for people in her community, and has reached out to her peers at school to show them how they can improve the health of their mothers, young children and elderly people,” the organization added.
Marietta compliments her good social work by proudly wearing the title of president of her school’s Science and Innovation Club.
She led her schoolmates in a project that sought to address malnutrition within their community and promote nutritional health awareness.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Marietta was at the forefront of innovatively creating a groundbreaking biomedical device capable of detecting and testing respiratory infections quickly.
This device proved to be a lifesaver for the overwhelmed health system. Marietta is a strong advocate for girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
She has excelled in numerous international debating competitions and earned prestigious international science awards for showcasing her talents.
Touring Marietta’s school last week, President William Ruto was very pleased that he promised to expand the school’s capacity to accommodate more girls.
“Marrieta is a brilliant, outgoing and very confident girl. She is headed for greater things. She’s a candidate this year and has a passion for innovation and giving back to society,” said Ms Mwaiseghe, the school’s principal.
Currently, Marietta is in London for the awards, having travelled there a week ago. She is accompanied by two other Kenyan girls from Maryhill and Starehe Girls. They will be there for 2 weeks.
According to Marietta’s mother, Drufena Doris Kulola, her passion for science began at a very young age. Her early interest in the subject has blossomed and opened many big doors in her life.
“She is a focused girl. In education matters she is very keen. I am happy that she has been selected and I am praying for her to win,” she said.
On previous occasions, Kenya has consistently had a strong representation in the Global Student Prize. Amisa Rashid, a Strathmore University student studying public policy was among the top 10 finalists in the award.
This year, the top 10 finalists are expected to be announced in August. The ultimate victor will be decided on later in the year by a group of distinguished eminent personalities.