HE IS NEWTON AND WORKING TOWARDS LIVING UP TO THE STANDARDS OF ISAAC NEWTON; HIS NAMESAKE
Meet Newton Kelvin Ollengo – A Fresh Graduate already taking on the World
"My Physics teacher, in High School, used to emphasize on passing along the knowledge one gains in life and encouraged us to take courses in Education. On the other hand, my teacher in Electricity encouraged us to take Engineering courses. I had developed a passion in Electrical and Electronics Engineering while young hence taking a course that enables me to achieve both Teaching and Engineering at the same time felt like a huge bonus for me. Interestingly, very few universities offer this kind of degree and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT) is among the few. This and the location of the University in a quiet and serene environment at the slopes of Mt. Kenya, coupled with very few cases of strikes and commitment & focus of the staff and students hence timely completion of studies, made the choice a tad easier. That is what I saw from the outside but from the inside, I found more and became more every step of the way. The journey continues.” – Newton Kelvin Ollengo.
Newton is a fresh graduate; he graduated on 17th December, 2021 with a First Class Honors in Bachelor of Education in Technology, Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Towards the end of his course, Newton had a chance to travel for an Internship abroad through the Exchange Programme managed by DeKUT International Office; this is in line with the University’s focus of giving students international exposure to ensure that they are globally competitive. While abroad, in Switzerland, Newton worked at ARTORG Centre; a centre for biomedical engineering research (https://www.artorg.unibe.ch/). He was so exceptional that by the end of his internship, he had an offer to head the Embedded Systems development team of SurgeonsLab (https://www.surgeonslab.com/) branch in India.
Have you heard of the Swahili proverb “ukiona vyaelea jua vimeundwa”? In a paraphrased manner, it goes to mean that everything that is did not just happen; it was ‘created’. Newton did not just find himself in a position where he had international exposure and a great job with a scholarship abroad even before graduating in his first degree; he made decisions and choices that got him there. Newton seized opportunities at the University to work on various projects with his peers under the DeKUT Innovation Club, put himself out there and got feedback and insights that he kept implementing and getting better. He became skilled at things he previously thought were a preserve for certain people. In his words, “Things I previously thought can only be done by highly skilled people abroad such a designing circuits and developing solutions to problems in the Society.” He is now this person and can only get better.
When you go through lack in life where do you look? For Newton, this lack and moments of hope have contributed to his path today.
“When I was yet a teething child of around 10 years, I yearned to understand the working of a torch. I was born in a humble village that hardly had any electricity and our home was not connected to the grid. We used kerosene lamps as sources of light and hence the need for a portable light source and in this case, a battery- powered torch. Occasionally, a neighbor would start his generator and grace the entire village with shiny bright lights that did not go out when the wind blew. As I grew older, I picked battery cells and adjoined them together to form a power cell. I would then take a broken torch and design my light source of sorts using this setup. I was quite elated when it worked, and heartbroken when it would dim and finally go off. Of course, I came to understand the mechanism but the joy when simple circuits work has never left me. During my educational journey, I have had a drive towards electronics and a tendency to choose system designs; choosing electrical and electronics engineering as a path for my career, therefore, was almost an easy choice. The more I have interacted with this field the more I have grown to enjoy it and its wonders seem to be endless. I feel that there is more yet to be understood and there are more problems faced by the society that can be solved by/through electronics. These are the problems I seek to solve.”
You know about Isaac Newton, or you have atleast heard of him, right? Newton Kelvin hopes to live up to the standards of his great namesake and for his parting shot, he says this: “Africa is basically playing a game called Catch-up. We are trying to catchup to the advancements in the first world. I dream of a time that we, Africans, won’t seek to catchup but rather be a leading global hub to the rest of the world. Before we can do that, we need to gain skills and start providing solutions now. That can only happen by interacting with the rest of the world, work with them and bring the various techniques applied in the First world back home.“