About Us

Our History

Initial discussions on the organization occurred between Thanksgiving of 2015 and January 2016 among Prof. Gitau, Prof. Ongeri, and Prof. Muhoro. The three of us recognized the role that African women play in improving livelihoods and the impact that they could make on policy. We also recognized that African women were largely underrepresented across all sectors and, thus, the pressing need for networks to support their academic and professional growth and success. We held our inaugural meeting in May 2016, bringing together ten African women with terminal degrees in their respective professions. These women became the Founding Members of the organization.

Our Name

After going through a number of potential names, we chose our current name Mentoring Network for African Women in Academia as one that best reflected our mission and vision. Our acronym is MTAWA, so you may see our name written as Mentoring neTwork for African Women in Academia. Both forms are acceptable. MTAWA is a Swahili word that means pillar or lighthouse.

Our Board

Margaret W. Gitau, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University
Clare Muhoro, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Towson University
Margaret Okomo-Adhiambo, Ph.D.
Bioinformatics Lead, NCIRD/OD/Office of Informatics, CDC
Board Member
Christine Adhiambo, Ph.D.
Lecturer in Biochemistry, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Board Member
Senorpe Asem-Hiablie, Ph.D.
Contaminant Transport Modeling
Student Representative
Pauline Welikhe
PhD student in Ecological Sciences and Engineering, Purdue University