Graduate Spotlight: Loren Anduvare – The analogical banana bread


It was a time of isolation, a time of discovery. A time of loss and a time of connection. A season for learning. Some mastered the art of banana bread, others took up home workouts. While we all adjusted to the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic, we found ways to cope with the slow-down of lockdown. Loren? Well, she opted to take the time to undertake a postgraduate programme – a Masters of Science in Information Technology.

Not unlike learning to bake banana bread, Loren Anduvare started the two-year journey to her master’s degree with a little research. Initially, she was set on finding a university abroad, but the restrictions of the pandemic necessitated a plan B. Like a neighbour with a super special secret recipe, Loren’s colleague told her about the university he had just started at. With her undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, she had an idea of what postgrad programme she would go for here in Strathmore.

Keeping with our baking analogy, she encountered that experienced baker with a bounty of tips (still following along?). The seasoned baker, William Kadima, the administrator at the Office of Graduate Studies,  recommended that she explore the Masters of Science in Information Technology. It wasn’t her first choice, yes, but he explained that much of what she had covered in her undergraduate degree would overlap, while the Masters of Science in Information Technology would instead add on. So she said yes and jumped head first into the next two years.

At my place of work, I had a top manager compliment my growth. He saw the knowledge I was gaining from undertaking the masters and that was an affirmation that it was advancing my career”.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… her two year journey was truly an experience.

Her first two semesters were purely online. She thought it would be harder, she admitted, but everything was so well organized that the classes ran smoothly. She was juggling a job and school; it wasn’t always the easiest balance to strike. Going into the third semester, the pandemic restrictions easened and the University moved into hybrid learning, and with time… full time in-person classes. The rationale behind it, as she explained, was to re-introduce the interpersonal interactions between classmates, lecturers and administrative staff. The juggling, relatedly, got slightly harder.

But those were not all the balls in play – she had a YouTube channel; Data Talks with Loren, a channel meant to discuss data related topics to enlighten people on current and emerging trends. She found, as the masters progressed, that it added to the knowledge she could incorporate into her content, to add value for her subscribers. And did I mention, she was class president right from the jump? It was her role to bridge the gap between her classmates and the administration – a communication-intense job that she says she took on enthusiastically. “

Being class president made me realize that I had to be on top of my game in all aspects. Not just work and school, but now also my responsibilities as class president”.

Life, as we know it, is made up of many interconnected elements. Loren admits that she was aware that taking on the Master’s program took a toll on her social life. A missed social engagement here and there won’t always bode well with some friends. She learnt to say no, to say that school was the priority.  There were those who fell off on their own. And there were those who stood by her, forgiving absences and cheering her on always. With so many things going on at once, Loren was a master juggler.

And now, her efforts bear fruit – the analogical banana bread is baked and ready to be eaten.

This is an investment that will pay off. Right at the start of the postgraduate, she wrote these words down in her journal. Her WHY to guide her through, even when the going got tough.

Whether or not I do it now, two years down the line, I’ll still be the same age. Time will pass anyway, so why not do it?”

In the last two years, Loren has seen the difference that undertaking the master’s programme has had. To begin with, it has grown her confidence because of the knowledge added to an already strong foundation. She has found that her thinking is different, and with it, she was able to successfully launch a project in her current role as Head of Projects at Pathways Technologies. She also had the opportunity to speak to 300 new students in September of 2022. While the talk was about IT and data, the experience broadened her perspective and helped her believe more in herself. Now she itches to do it again.

With so many positive things to say about her experience, it was clear that Loren enjoyed her years here at Strathmore. As she prepares for graduation, she looks back on a few highlights; the efficiency of the e-learning systems, the lab classes and campus events and opportunities. And of course, the academic trip that her class took to the Czech Republic. The visit to Brno University and tours of Vienna, Austria and the City of Prague, she says, were great for exposure- a great mix of learning and travel.

How will you be celebrating this milestone?

Well, first with a dinner party on the day of graduation, and later, in another two months, a big party where everyone will be invited (maybe even you).”

This article written by Celia Kinuthia.

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