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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

For Muchiri, a multitude of awards and three degrees

By Phil Walzer

Kevin Muchiri has spent the last 10 years at Old Dominion University, and, he says, "I've enjoyed every bit of it." But the food took a little getting used to.

Muchiri came to Old Dominion from Busia, a small city in western Kenya, in 2008, on the recommendation of a cousin who attended ODU. "Of course, I missed the food. The flavor was not as rich as what I had back home - even an egg."

But, he said, "I adjusted quickly." And not just to the food.

Later this year, Muchiri, 30, is scheduled to receive his third degree from Old Dominion - a doctorate in engineering management and systems engineering. He earned his bachelor's in business administration and information technology in 2011 and his master's in engineering management in 2013.

Along the way, he's been a student member of the board of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the first international student to serve as the student representative to Old Dominion's Board of Visitors.

The University has acted on Muchiri's suggestions to strengthen protection against bike theft, expand advising and increase drug and alcohol education.

He has received the John R. Broderick Diversity Champion Award and the Evon-Broderick Award for Community Engagement and Service. And last year, Muchiri won the University's Shining Star Award for The Summit, a group he launched to mentor male African-American and African engineering students.

He meets with them at least weekly to check on study habits and grades, but they also get together sometimes to play basketball. "I want them to keep each other accountable and make sure no one is slacking," Muchiri says.

Amadu Koroma, a rising sophomore from Manassas who is studying electrical engineering, is a member of The Summit. "Initially, I was lost," Koroma said. "He told me about classes and how college works. I did a whole 180. He made me more of a forward thinker."

At first, Muchiri found Americans wary and less open than Kenyans. But in 2010, when optic neuritis temporarily blinded Muchiri's left eye, a professor went shopping for him. And he describes President John R. Broderick as a "surrogate father."

"I've found so many people who have encouraged me and made my life interesting," he says.

This article appeared in the spring issue of Monarch magazine. Read about more 2018 graduates at www.odu.edu/monarchmag

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