REGINA MWANGI RECOGNIZED FOR OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC QUALIFICATION AND EXPERTISE IN COFFEE
MEET DR. REGINA MWANGI - ONE OF THE ONLY TWO WOMEN WITH DOCTORATE DEGREE IN COFFEE IN KENYA.
“I am grateful to God for the far he has brought me, indeed it is just by His grace I am what I am. Currently, I hold a PhD in the field of coffee. It has been a humbling experience for me having had to start the long academic journey in the field of coffee from certificate then Diploma level, despite being a First Class Honors holder in BEd. (Home Economics). I initially felt discouraged and disheartened about this since I had set my mind to further my studies in food science and nutrition at JKUAT where I had already been admitted. But now as I look back I am happy to have ventured into coffee. I am indebted and grateful to the Vice Chancellor Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Prof. Eng. Paul Ndirangu Kioni, and the entire University management for the support accorded to me.“- Dr. Regina Mwangi
Dr. Regina Mwangi is a member of staff in the School of Business Management and Economics and an alumni of DeKUT. She joined Kimathi Institute of Technology (the predecessor of DeKUT) in 2004 in the department of Clothing Technology having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in BEd. (Home Economics) from Kenyatta University. When the institution was upgraded to University status, she was one of the few who chose to remain and grow the University, hence now an employee of DeKUT. In 2007, Starbucks through African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) approached the then management of Kimathi University College of Technology (KUCT) and offered to build a coffee laboratory in the University. This being a new field (coffee) and with no expertise at all in the university, the KUCT management saw the need to build its human capacity for proper management of the laboratory and other coffee affairs. Dr Regina was one of the staff who was sponsored by the University to pursue both the Certificate and Diploma in Coffee Technology and Cupping which she passed with distinction. Since the inception of this programme to date, DeKUT is the only University in Kenya offering academic programs in coffee.
Regional Coffee Cupping at Metad Coffee Laboratory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Dr. Regina was given the responsibility of managing the coffee laboratory as well as handle other coffee related issues in the University. Despite her background; born and brought up in a coffee growing community where she took part in the coffee farming related activities, she didn’t have any in-depth academic knowledge in coffee. Nevertheless, with determination and commitment, Dr. Regina took coffee matters head on. Within a short time her passion in coffee grew. She started her coffee training, both formally and informally at the Coffee Directorate, Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE), Coffee Research Institute, as well as in other coffee processing firms. Through the training, she learnt a lot besides attending various coffee forums, which gave her lots of exposure on matters related to coffee such as: regulations governing coffee, coffee processing, coffee marketing and knowledge on how coffee had evolved enabling her to understand coffee and the industry from different perspective.
Dr. Regina is a seasoned coffee professional with both local and international professional certifications in the field of coffee. In 2011 she qualified as a Coffee Expert thus Licensed as a National Coffee Liquorer by the AFA-Coffee Directorate. In 2012, she qualified as a Q- Grader thus Licensed as an International Coffee Cupper by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI). She had already developed immense interest and expertise in coffee and she was taking every opportunity to gain more knowledge and skills in coffee. Her great commitment to coffee bore fruits when in 2013, she was awarded a full scholarship by Ernesto Illy Foundation to pursue a Master’s degree in Coffee Economics and Science at the University of Udine, Trieste-Italy. Here she excelled, emerging the best in her class and graduating with an Honours Masters.
Head Judging coffee at the National Taste of Harvest Competition, at AFA-Coffee Directorate Laboratory, Nairobi, Kenya.
Through the programme, she discovered a lot hence came to perceive the value of coffee from a different perspective. She came back to Kenya after her studies determined to revive the glory of coffee in the country. For this, she worked, with the then Governor of Nyeri, the late Hon. Nderitu Gachagua, in sensitizing coffee farmers in Nyeri on good coffee husbandry and the immense value of coffee at the global scene. She became a partner of the County Government of Nyeri and invested her knowledge and skills in the task with the hope to revive coffee in the county. Dr. Regina was now an international figure in the field of coffee. In 2014 she was invited by the Ernesto Illy Foudation to Trieste-Italy, to represent Africa as the key speaker in the “Women in the World of Coffee: Fostering the Quiet Revolution” Conference.
Dr. Regina has been and is still involved in the coffee industry in Kenya in various ways; she also wears many hats in the coffee industry. For the last two years, she has acted as the Head Judge during the National Coffee Taste of Harvest Competition. She is also an examiner in the National Coffee Liquoring Examination. For the last four years she represented the university at KEBS where she has been actively involved in the development and reviewing of international coffee standards. She is also one of the two coffee Ambassadors in Kenya that ascertain the coffee quality at the regional level.
On 27th April, 2018 Dr. Regina graduated during the DeKUT 7th Graduation Ceremony with a PhD in Business Administration and Management with coffee as the degree’s research area; her doctorate thesis was entitled “Value Addition in Coffee Cooperative Societies and Sustainability of Coffee Industry in Kenya”- this again is no mean feat. This made her one of the only two women holding doctorate degree in coffee in Kenya. It is worth noting that she was able to finish her PhD degree within the prescribed period of three years, which is a rare gesture. Indeed she is a woman of great potential and abilities. She doesn’t believe in obstacles and is flexible and she has a high degree of resilience.
The big day for Dr. Regina; Graduation Day - Receiving the PhD Certificate awarded by the Council Chair and acting Chancellor DeKUT, Dr. Jane Nyakang’o
“Though your beginning can be small, God can greatly increase it’’ she observes. Dr Regina says, it has been a journey where she sought to understand the coffee value chain; right from the seed to the cup and bring back the glory of coffee resulting to creation of more wealth to the coffee farmers through the crop. She further notes that there is a shortage of trained and skilled personnel in the coffee industry hence there is need to train more people in this field who can positively engage in coffee value addition.
Dr Regina is an icon in the coffee industry both at the national and international arena with many accolades and awards. On 1st October, 2018 during the International Coffee Day, Dr. Regina was honoured with an Academic Excellence Award by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries for her outstanding academic qualification in coffee. Her passion in coffee has won many, being an inspiration to several women and youth who are now following into her footsteps. Indeed, in the coffee circles globally, she is known as the “Coffee Queen”. Dr. Regina dreams Coffee, drinks Coffee, and talks Coffee.
The Academic Excellence Award
Join us in congratulating her for the newly achieved award and recognition as we wish her well in her career.
Congratulations Dr. Regina!