Alumni spotlight on Agnes Nyambura

Faith Rugema

Oct 30, 2021

Agnes Nyambura found herself at a crossroads during the final year of her undergraduate studies at Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya: pursue a job or continue with her academic journey. Her professor encouraged her to consider the academic path and apply to CMU-Africa. The prospect of continuing her education at CMU-Africa was exciting for her, especially when she was later accepted into the Master of Science in Information Technology (MS IT) program. Nyambura, a young woman who had never ventured beyond the borders of home, was moving to Rwanda to pursue a world-class education that would ultimately advance her career.

Since Nyambura has never shied away from taking advantage of opportunities, she applied for a Salesforce developer internship at a non-profit organization as she waited for the academic year to begin. As luck would have it, CMU-Africa had just launched their application in Salesforce and Agnes found herself as the only student who was familiar with the software. In her student job, she worked with the technical team in managing the running of the system.

It’s very important for young women interested in STEM to look up and say, ‘Okay, if they’ve done it then it’s also possible for me.’

Agnes Nyambura, CMU-Africa Alumna

When Nyambura began her studies at CMU-Africa, she had to navigate through new ways of learning and figure out how to balance an intense workload. To help her through this challenge, she leaned on the support of friends, classmates, professors, and family. She also worked hard to create a mindset that enabled her to embrace opportunities.

“It had a lot to do with developing your own grit and determination. You must focus on the end goal, be cognizant of what you’re working towards, and convince yourself that it’s beyond the grades. You are working to better yourself in the long run,” says Nyambura.

Now, Nyambura is working at Salesforce in the Netherlands as a technical architect. She continues to welcome new challenges which help her to grow as a person, such as living and working in a new geographical region. Nyambura also recognizes how the non-technical skills she gained at CMU-Africa have enabled her to excel in her career and communicate effectively. Her future aspirations are to continue working in the technical space, most likely as an enterprise architect.

“This experience has taught me that my success in the tech field is not only beneficial to the industry but is also a message to women who seek to feel represented and understood in STEM. It’s very important for young women interested in STEM to look up and say, ‘Okay, if they’ve done it then it’s also possible for me.’”

Throughout Nyambura’s academic life, she has always found herself as one of very few women in tech, first as an undergraduate and then as a MS IT student at CMU-Africa. Her hope is that more people will realize that women have what it takes to hold significant positions in the tech world.

Her advice to women interested in the tech field is to “always try new things, stay hungry to learn, and try to better yourself. In addition to studying, participate in extracurricular activities, take that student job, apply for that internship, branch out. Those hobbies could turn into career or business opportunities. It’s very important to always be open-minded — give everything a chance."