Following her own blueprint for life led Phoebe Ndege to earn an engineering degree in her native Kenya, then venture to Northampton Community College to major in electromechanical technology. She earned the Lutron Electronics Co. Inc, Scholarship and the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Scholarship.

Ndege’s father urged her to become a teacher; her mother encouraged her to practice medicine. Ndege took her own path by playing for a Kenyan soccer club that offered student housing and a partial scholarship to study engineering. Her parents eventually paid for the rest of her tuition at Mount Kenya University.

“They saw, ‘this one is not stopping. She is doing this,’” said Ndege.

Ndege hopes eventually to return to her country and establish a solar power plant to generate sustainable electricity for her hometown. She hopes that the electricity would improve public safety, provide light by which students can do homework, and enable residents to watch the news.

She also hopes to inspire other families to support their daughters’ education.

“I want to be an example to parents who think their female kids are only able to get married and give birth,” said Ndege, whose birth family is polygamous.

When Ndege was ten years old, her father allowed her to disassemble some radios he planned to throw away. She excitedly discovered that she could repair the radios without any direction. In primary school, Ndege excelled in science and math. In her secondary school physics lab, Ndege connected wires, batteries, and light bulbs to make working circuits without waiting for the teacher to explain the experiment. She impressed the teacher so much that he gave her a physics book to take home.

Ndege’s gift for engineering combined with her tenacity served her well on the jobs she held after graduation.

“She was outstanding such that she was always the first one to troubleshoot and solve the problems that arose in the course of discharging her duties,” wrote George Otieno, station administrator/operator/technical head of REGEN power plant where Ndege worked as a station operator and maintenance engineer before starting at NCC.

Ndege led a group of visitors from the U.S. on a tour of the power plant where she worked. Talking with one of them inspired her to study in the States. Ndege counted her savings and contacted her cousin who lived in the U.S. The cousin suggested three community colleges, including NCC.

“I’m afraid of failing because I am afraid then I am a laughingstock,” Ndege said.

Phoebe Ndege speaks about coming to and studying at NCC.

So she initially kept her plans a secret from family and friends while seeking advice from a Kenyan who attended NCC.
On her first day of class at NCC, Ndege got lost and had to ask security to help her find her classroom. When she got to class, the students were taking an exam for which she had not specifically studied. She took the test using her pre-existing engineering knowledge from university and work at the Regen and Kengen power plants in Kenya. Her professor commended her for her excellent work on the exam.

Her current professors respect Ndege for her courage and passion for knowledge.

“Phoebe is dedicated to learning and to making every effort to improve upon any course content she does not understand or has had difficulties in completing. She has a refreshing attitude towards her coursework,” Professor Robert D. Trate, who teaches electrical construction, wrote in an e-mail.

Ndege’s professor, Robert E. (Rick) Wolff, envisions a lifetime of learning in her future.

“Phoebe is entering into the engineering field at an exciting time, the world is changing. When I attended engineer school many years ago there were very few women in this field, and that is changing quickly…I advise anyone that enters into our higher education system that this is only the beginning of their educational journey, as technology continues to evolve those that want to thrive must continue their studies to remain current,” Wolff wrote in an e-mail.

Ndege plans to graduate in May 2022 and is applying for scholarships to help her earn a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. or another English-speaking country. She is fluent in Kiswahili and English.

Northampton Community College’s electromechanical engineering program is designed to help students understand how automated technology and instrumentation is used in industrial settings. We combine theory and practice within our curriculum to fully cover each area of the degree. An extensive selection of courses provides a comprehensive overview of the topics and technologies professional engineers encounter.           

Every year, international students from all over the world choose Northampton Community College. We welcome students to become part of our exciting global campus. The Center for Global Education and International Services supports international students from application through graduation.

Phoebe Ndege
Phoebe Ndege/Photo by Scott Johnson
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67 COMMENTS

  1. Having read the whole inspiring story,I got a feeling this is only the beginning of even more great things to come for you.Indeed your life and achievements is vivid demonstration that achieving anything requires faith and belief in oneself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remarkably, all things are possible for those who believe!!!

  2. I always knew you were destined for greatness. Sky is the limit so keep going gal. Back home we are praying for you.

  3. Phoebe Ndege having worked with you at REGEN, I admire your hard work, determination and focus you don’t believe there anything impossible to achieve and that inspired me so much. Keep pursuing your dreams and I have a lot of faith and confidence that you will realize them. Kudos!!

  4. Quite inspiring story of her life. Ever since I came to know Phoebe one thing for sure, she is a go getter and a hardworking lady at that. Go girl!

  5. My toto with a beautiful heart and veeery hard working. One thing I know about Phoebe is anything she does she’ll do it whole heartedly to perfection.

  6. My friend Phoebe nothing comes easy the way you have said but what I believe Gods time is always the best and what am seeing is Gods time am happy for you always keep the spirit my friend your going far and we have just started the journey let’s put God first in everything and your dream will come through God bless you

  7. Very impressive dear. The most hardworking and prosperous woman I know with enormous self belief at the same time. Keep aiming higher cause the said power plant is sure thing we have to build in siaya. Thanks to NCC at large for the chance.

  8. Well, that’s Ndege for you. Great to learn of her vision my community. I pray she accomplishes that and more.

  9. Phoebe is a go getter, a hardworking lady, very kind hearted, a woman with enthusiasm.. I can’t mention everything about her, God placed a gold heart in this lady and then distributed her to us as a blessing in disguise, go Phoebe go we are behind you with everything we have from prayers to any other support you need, go the world is watching

  10. I met with Phoebe Ndege at Mount Kenya University in 2013/2014. Although I was studying Computer Engineering and she was studying Electronics and Electrical Engineering, we had common units/courses that we studied together and that is where I came to know her.

    Phoebe is a very dedicated lady who by effort worked her way out. She was always at the electronics lab while the rest of students were in their hostels. I was an electronics enthusiast too so we always bumped to each other at the lab. She is an amazing lady I can say in short. May her dreams come alive.

    Much love from here 😍

  11. You have been a great inspiration to me and many others ,you have what it takes to be the best,keep the fire burning

  12. Phoebe!!!!!!! That is AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to share this article with my brother and sister.
    So, so proud of you. I am proud to say I know you. You are hard working, genuine and so deserving of your scholarships! I wish you all the best as you finish up in the next few months. I know we will see great things from you.

  13. Congratulations girls, you have been my mentor since high-school and it feels encouraging seeing your mentor doing very well in their paths and career… #God’s pace#you shall make it.. Hongera ndege!

  14. The zeal and passion you have shown towards this career is quite encouraging, from the article this is what we refer to as self determination….Go for it ,the sky is not the limit aim above the sky…..Hard work+ determination+ prayers = success

  15. You are such an inspiration.
    I love it when you finally realized what your heart desires are.
    Go girl and empress the good life that achieves all you have been dreaming for.
    Be blessed and good luck always.

  16. For the little time have known her she inspires me alot. She is hard working and friendly, she challenges me everyday wish i worked with her

  17. Congratulations once more the “JeT” yaani Ndege💪🏽. A lady with Vision and a Plan. You rock upstairs, hold your brainy head high and soar like an eagle that you are! Beauty with brains perfectly defines you!

  18. Phoebe is truly a force to reckon with. Her story is very encouraging. She is proving that women are cut out to be more than what they are traditionally expected to be. This story just goes to show what women can achieve given the right support. She is going to accomplish that which she has set her mind to do and much more with this kind of tenacity. Keep on keeping on, Phoebe 👏👏👏.

  19. Phoebe is one of the hardworking, determine and courageous women I have come across,since back in high school she was always brave to face any challenge,no obstacles would stop her ,,she Inspires me each and every time and she is also changing the mentality that some careers can only be done perfectly by men., jaber go,go girl shine internationally success is always your portion. Back in our country Kenya ,most communities do not have electricity and solar power and with your career and hardworking we are sure that one day you will put our people in the light..,…I Personally I do pray for your success everyday and may the Almighty God bless the work of your hands..

  20. I have made friends, then there is Phoebe, MY PERSON. I always say, she is a believer. This makes her go for what she believes in, execute, and succeed. This is just her, and to greater heights that may come her way, I will not be surprised because I believe in her 💯.
    Keep pressing, keep going, and keep winning.
    I believe in you Phy.
    Mob love

  21. Hats off! You deserve the grandest celebration of all,not many people have a story of their own to tell. You have a story of your own and there are so many others to tell it over and over again. Congratulations homie ♥️

  22. Phoebe ndege is a lady of own world 🌎 she never allow the things that let her down win but all in all she is a woman of her class I do believe if she gets the opportunity to be on top then we us the people around her will always feel blessed because she is woman of all I wish you all the best Dear friend GOD ABOVE ALL

  23. A journey of thousands mile begin with a single step,Everyone can see the success but not everyone can see the passion and hard work it took to achieve it.

  24. A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.Everytime I wake up to a win from you hun ,I count my day made .
    Keep shinning,keep making us proud .The village is happy ,the cows are moo ,the goats bleating and gwen kokroriokooo just for you.
    Agombo wacho dholuo (we love you)

  25. Congrats Phoebe Ndege… You have broken the glass ceiling and become an example to the girl child not only in your home county of Siaya but also to Kenyan girls. Keep up the good work and success shall follow you!

  26. It’s really inspiring… The hard work, commitment and the desire to thrive that you possess sets a path for others to follow… Proud of you friend… Thanks for sharing…

  27. Congratulations to my buddy Engineer Phoebe Ndege. I have known her since our childhood playing soccer together. Phoebe you’re a go getter and proud of you, thank you for the kind heart and encouragement you give to your friends. You such amazing person, keep working hard and as you always tells,,prayer works!! We love you!!

  28. Congratulations to favorite Aunt Phoebe Ndege💓🎓🇰🇪
    Only the Sky is the Limit 💥💥💥

  29. Phoebe Ndege my former classmate has always been a force to reckon with..you are a true evidence that no human is limited.Secure the bag girl.You can do this,BRAVO!

  30. You are the first person I trusted and believed in back at thika queen camp. I believe you gonna make my home county Siaya shine. I still believe in you chopper. Keep going girl.

  31. Phoebe I pray that all your plans come true my sister…You have finally spoken and everyone be it parents,students or communities at large will take example from you… Education is thr key to success…All the best in everything Phoebe

  32. Phoebe Ndege you are a a jewel, keep it up girl, you inspire me a lot, and you’ve proven over and over again that nothing is out of reach.
    Be blessed.

  33. As an alumni of Sega Girls, a school in the farthest end of Kenya almost bordering Kenya and Uganda, I must applaud you for your excellence, zeal and determination Phoebe. I pray that your dreams may materialise because through that you will be able to help millions and millions of Kenyans mostly in the rural set ups. Keep going. God is with you.
    Much love

  34. sight is a function of the eyes, vision is a function of the heart. stick to your vision until it come to pass… don’t get discouraged , Proud of you 👏🏽

  35. Phoebe Ndege is among one of the most hardworking women I know. She goes for what she wants and gives it her all. Her passion for engineering started while we were in high school and I remember she would outshine us in physics class with her electrical wiring skills. The village needs electricity and if there is someone who can deliver the same and make that happen with her determination and commitment, it is Phoebe Ndege. Kudos girl. Keep winning and bring the win back home. Love you.

  36. Come back home so that we can can light up the village and plant smiles to the forgotten million. I believe that green energy is the way to go so as to conserve the environment too.

    J. Koraro.
    Human Capital Expert

  37. This is very inspiring. I personally can attest to Phoebe’s zeal of making a difference in what she does. I met her in 2017 September when we trained as Election Observers for the General election with Election Observer Group (ELOG). She represented Siaya County as I represented Homabay County.

    We managed to submit quality work and since then, we have grown to be great friends. Keep flying amigo.

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