The Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Arid Lands Resource Sciences is proud to announce that Fall 2020 incoming student, Diana Githu is the recipient of the prestigious University Fellows award. The fellowship is sponsored by the University of Arizona (UA) Graduate College. The award provides financial support, professional development opportunities, and a richly interdisciplinary community of University Fellows and distinguished faculty members throughout the campus.
The University Fellows Award provides the following:
- In year 1
- $32,000 fellowship -- $13,500 of which will be disbursed in the fall, $13,500 in the spring, and $5,000 in the summer.
- A Graduate Tuition Scholarship (GTS) that covers base graduate tuition in fall and spring for courses taken through main campus in the first year (excludes program fees, differential tuition, and mandatory registration fees)
- Coverage under the UA Student Health Insurance Plan
- In year 2
- $500 for attending conferences or professional development activities
- Access to ongoing professional development programs as well as social events, community collaborations, networking opportunities, and interdisciplinary colloquia throughout their graduate career (visit the Cohort Experience page for more information)
- College and departmental support in years 2 through 5 equal to or greater than what is consistent with a 0.25 FTE Graduate Assistantship (stipend, healthcare, and 0.5 base graduate tuition coverage)
Diana earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Range Management from the University of Nairobi, Kenya in 2016. She also graduated from the School of Natural Resources and Environment in the University of Arizona as a Fulbright Scholar with a Master of Science in Natural Resources in May, 2020.
Prior to starting her academic journey as a graduate student, Diana lived, worked and interacted with rural pastoral communities from Rift Valley, Kenya. This experience made her more informed on the potential, plights, myths and vulnerability of most rural communities especially in the rangelands of Kenya. Her interaction with the pastoral Tugen, Njemps and Pokot communities were of great significance to her Master’s dissertation, where she wrote on the heterogeneity of pastoral communities as they reseeded and rehabilitated degraded rangelands in Lake Baringo, Kenya. Having spent the past few years working in the rangelands, Diana appreciates the role of the pastoral culture and its social systems in strategically supporting populations by efficiently converting limited ecological resources into sustenance.
For her doctorate, Diana intends to study the Food-Water-Energy nexus. With the discovery of oil reserves in the rangelands of Kenya, which cover over 80% of the country, there lies great potential in converting the degraded waste lands into profitable utilization. At the same time, Kenya’s location at the Equator also provides potential to tap into solar energy through the implementation of Agrivoltaics – an innovation with the potential to address food (in)security and prevent the Food versus Energy conflict that is common place in Kenya and other developing countries in Sub Saharan Africa.
As she starts her doctorate, Diana hopes to take advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of the PhD program offered by the Arid land Resource Science program to combine natural resources, public policy, geography and development to sharpen her skills and increase her knowledge base in addressing the complex socio-economic and environmental challenges affecting the rangelands of Kenya, Africa and the rest of the world.