Posted on September 28, 2016 by Tia Lalani

We have so many interesting students on campus! Get to know Ivy, a 4th year Chemistry major from Nairobi.

ivy1Since arriving here from her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya, Ivy has never looked back. A Chemistry major, Ivy is about to complete her degree and graduate next June, made even more impressive by the fact that she will have taken only three and a half years to earn the Bachelor of Science degree she began in January of 2012. I sat down with Ivy to ask her a few questions about herself, her journey at Augustana, and what’s next.

How and why did you choose Augustana?

I have a few relatives in Edmonton who suggested Augustana because of its size. When I first got here, I thought I would only stay for one semester and then transfer to North campus because I’m a city person, I’m used to being around a lot of people. But then you come here and it’s like you get glued to the community, there are so many opportunities. And it’s easier to learn here because of the smaller class sizes, which also allows you to challenge yourself because when the professor knows you and knows what you’re capable of, they’re not going to take anything less than your best. I ended up staying, and I honestly don’t regret that decision at all.

What’s an interesting fact about your country?

It’s very small, but has a population greater than Canada. Kenya is about the size of Alberta, but with a population of about 40 million. That number is from our last census which was almost ten years ago, so it’s probably even more now.


What’s a stereotype that you face?

When I first came here, I remember someone asked me where I was from and after I told them they said “but you speak such good English.” So that’s one big misconception, because we speak English in Nairobi. I know other African students have mentioned to me that they’ve been asked if they speak African – Africa is a continent, we don’t have a language.

What’s the best thing about Augustana?

The opportunities. There are so many leadership opportunities within Augustana, it’s insane. And it doesn’t have to be your typical student government position, there’s lot of access to the community and I think that’s what makes Augustana stand out. If you didn’t want to be involved you’d have to actively try not to be, because you get sucked in!

If you were teaching a class on music, film and literature, what would be on your syllabus?

I’m not into literature, so I would make everyone read chemistry books instead of literature. In terms of music, I’m not bound by genres (except country, unless it’s good old school country like Johnny Cash), and I’m very deeply rooted in origins of different kinds of music, so if I was teaching a class I’d look at the history of different music genres. If we’re talking about movies, I’m more of a series person…so we would watch things like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Suits. Grey’s Anatomy never disappoints.

What’s one item on your bucket list?

It’s very materialistic but I’d like to buy myself a pair of red soled Louboutin’s! Not get them as a gift, but buy them for myself.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

That’s a hard one because I’m like an open book! But one thing would be as much as I love talking and am very loud and outspoken, I prefer to be alone. Not in a negative way, but just because it gives me time to come back to my own thoughts and refocus.

What do you hope to do after completing your degree?

Right now, I’m still not very certain in what route of Chemistry I’d like to go into. I’m applying to a few graduate programs. Eventually I’d like to get into Mechanical Chemistry. But I’m not the typical in-the-lab-all-day kind of chemist, so I’d like to do the business side of things. I’d like to get an MBA at some point in my life.

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