Prof. Gitau Gives Invited Talks at Qinghai Normal University

Prof. Margaret Gitau recently gave invited talks on “Managing Water Quality for a Sustainable World” and “Modeling for Hydrology and Water Quality” at Qinghai Normal University in Xining, China. In these talks, she discussed perspectives, current research, and future directions for water quality management, and also highlighted challenges and opportunities for hydrologic and water quality modeling.

African Women Can Compete on Competence

By Abigail A. Ekeigwe

Competence, in my understanding, opinion and words, means the aggregation of knowledge and skills, some hard, some soft, that make one capable of effective performance that achieves desired outcome while having a balanced life.  For example, if you are a pharmacist with a college degree, you need to synergize the knowledge from your college education with experience from “deliberate practice” of pharmacy. You also need to add soft skills like emotional intelligence that help you coordinate your family, work environment, and customer interests to deliver desired outcomes.

My native African experience is that women are often raised to believe that their gender predisposed them to be less competent.  But I have come to learn that this is untrue, for example, as shown by the three characters in the book Hidden Figures, “the phenomenal true story of the exceptionally talented black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.” (Shetterly, 2017). It is an inspiring book for all African career women to read. Competence is important because it is one of the key fundamentals of the capitalist society in which we work. For this reason, it is not within our control to choose whether or not to become competent, it is imposed.  Capitalism is competence-driven, efficiency-driven, profit-driven and, therefore, gender-agnostic.  Ideally, if you are the best the market will hire you, driven by its gender-agnostic profit motive.  But note that being the best includes being courageous to say, “yes I can,” the inspiring Barack Obama slogan, even at the risk of being labelled “proud”.  It is part of the creative personality profile that fired you up to competence in the first place and consistent with research findings of Csikszentmihalyi, who reported that “creative individuals have a great deal of energy, … often quiet and at rest … are also remarkably humble and proud at the same time.” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). We now know that “being too modest likely won’t serve you well.” (Nasher, 2019). Therefore, do not be demur; it would be professionally counterproductive for your career if you skittishly demur to the realities of your competence. The converse is true if you do what the market wants, namely, obey market rules, with evident demonstration of competence, and deliver that efficient resonant performance for which you have prepared. The society is replete with contemporary evidence in this respect.  A 2018 Pew Research survey shows that the American society is now more agreeable to the idea of women being in leadership positions in both business and politics (Horowitz, Igielnik, & Parker, 2018). Entrenched barriers are gradually crumbling and becoming morally unpopular.  But there is yet more work to be done.

To my fellow African women, I say, be strong and courageous, and watch the genius in you emerge to become visible to the market. These thoughts are from my daily introspections as I intently build my career capital to be compelling and resilient, and I wanted to humbly share them here hoping that someone would benefit from it.

Abigail A. Ekeigwe, B.Pharm, M.Pharm, FPCPharm, MSc.(Purdue), ASQ Certified QIA is a PhD. Student in Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Sciences at Purdue University. She can be reached at,; LinkedIn page –; ORCID –

References: Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Perennial.; Horowitz, J. M., Igielnik, R., & Parker, K. (2018, 2018-09-20). How Americans View Women Leaders in Politics and Business. Retrieved from; Nasher, J. (2019). To Seem More Competent, Be More Confident. Harvard Business Review(March – April).; Shetterly, M. L. (2017). Hidden figures: the American Dream and the untold story of the black women mathematicians who helped win the space race. New York: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


MTAWA Holds Successful Meeting in Atlanta, GA

State of the Network 1

Prof. Margaret Gitau (Purdue University and MTAWA) gave an update on the state of the Network. (Network Update)


Dr. Margaret Okomo-Adhiambo (CDC and MTAWA) led a combined breakout session on early career challenges and opportunities and the importance of mentoring. (Breakout Session 1A, B)


Dr. Elizabeth Quansah (Auburn University) gave an inspiring keynote address, sharing her professional journey and providing insights into the challenges and opportunities for African women in academia. (MTAWA Meeting Keynote Presentation)


Prof. Clare Muhoro (Towson University and MTAWA) gave a workshop on negotiation covering key strategies including identifying negotiables and setting your BATNA and ZOPA. (Materials only available to meeting participants.)

ATL Tour 1a

Prof. Margaret Gitau led a group mentoring session focused on challenges and opportunities for African women in academia. (See Meeting Report for Notes.)

ATL Tour 1a_O

Dr. Maryann Chege (Floyd Medical Center and MTAWA) hosted a tour of Atlanta for interested participants.

Meeting Report: Meeting Report
Resources and links: (Purdue University) (University of Michigan) (University of British Columbia) (Purdue University, For Mentors).


Member Profile

Meet Our Mentors: Dr. Esther Mosase

mosase 1t
Dr. Esther Mosase
Dr. Esther Mosase recently obtained her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at South Dakota State University. Her dissertation work focused on modelling water availability, risk and resilience in the Limpopo River Basin, a semi-arid basin in Southern Africa. Esther’s PhD work was supported by the Schlumberger Foundation, Faculty for the Future (FFTF) program which sponsors women in Science and Engineering, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) through the Botswana Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF), and Botswana Embassy in the United States.
Esther received her Master’s in Agricultural Engineering from Botswana College of Agriculture (Botswana). Thereafter, she worked as a junior lecturer at the BIUST in Botswana before starting her PhD. Esther is currently working part time as a Staff Research Associate (SRA II) at the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Esther is looking forward to continuing contributing to research and science-based information in water resources including water quality improvement and impact of climate change on water resources. As a product of the Schlumberger Foundation FFTF program, Esther looks forward to continuing empowering girls/women to pursue Science and Engineering fields.