Graduand Spotlight; 1st Class Honours Law Student Tony Nyakundi
22 year old Tony Areri Nyakundi, is not shy of venturing into areas largely ignored by the society. This yearning led him into researching on an unfamiliar topic Embryo Personhood and how it affects disposal procedures in IVF. Through this research, Tony analyzed foundational concepts of personhood and how they intersect with conservative and liberal interpretations of property. He was forced to examine traditional interpretations of the implications of personhood, influenced by either conservative or liberal values, seeking to find a middle ground in a subject that is highly controversial but nonetheless, exciting for him.
Tony will graduate with a 1st class honours in this year’s graduation from Strathmore Law School. He has appeared in the Dean’s list from his second year to the final year of university, an achievement that is by no means sloppy. He is the second born in a family of three children.
What did it take to attain high grades through the four years?
I wouldn’t attribute this to any individual factor or formula. I did well because of the usual hard work and diligence, but would also say, the fact that I had excellent people around me motivated me to do better and be better. The people include not only my parents and lecturers, but also my classmates and friends who are some of the smartest people I know. They are also the most supportive group of people I had the pleasure of knowing.
I think it also helps to find out what works for you and establish a routine that you are confident will work for the best.
Why that particular research topic?
Aside from the fact that it is a largely ignored area of the law, this topic gave me the chance to further my knowledge in theoretical legal issues such as property law and jurisprudence.
I discovered that with sound legislation and policy guidelines, we can balance the right to life enshrined in our constitution, which is core to the concept of personhood and the right to reproductive freedom also in our constitution.
I was attracted to law because of its diverse character. It is rarely interpreted in a vacuum and this forces students to sample different fields of study besides law itself for example, history, philosophy, economics etc.
Due to this exposure, we are able to view the field from a different perspective and in effect we can understand the legal ramifications of different trends in culture, governance, commerce etc.
In retrospect, the decision to join law school was a good one because not only have I had the opportunity to read widely on interesting subjects, but I also met different individuals who positively influenced my thinking.
How was your experience at Strathmore and how did it grow you?
I was involved in a couple of activities outside the classroom.
In second year for example, I was part of the team that revived the Strathmore Spanish Club and I enjoyed my brief stint as its chairperson.
I have worked at the Strathmore Extractives Industry Centre as an intern.
I think that it is very possible to balance extra-curricular activities and your studies with a bit of organization, and of course help from those around you. I have been lucky to work with supervisors who always understood that schoolwork is a priority for me and we were able to work out a schedule that did not force me to compromise on either. My fellow colleagues at the Research Centre are also extremely capable individuals who always pulled their weight which was essential to collective productivity.
If I had any advice for any incoming Strathmore student, it would be to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that are available at all Strathmore institutions. At the Law School for example, we are grateful to have a genuinely brilliant Dean, Faculty and Administrative Staff, who are always looking to add value to our basic degree with opportunities to explore our interests.
I have personally been lucky enough to spend this past semester at Cornell Law School in New York learning at one of the best institutions in the world simply because of the Law School’s value addition attitude.
Who do you look up to?
President Obama for his intelligence, wit and remarkable introspectiveness; Prof Muna Ndulo of Cornell Law School for his brilliant legal mind and nuanced insight into Africa’s issues; my parents for their humor, kindness and sacrifice.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
In the short term, I hope to further my research and organizational skills while working at the Extractives Baraza at the Law School. Later, I hope to join an established law firm to gain work experience after completing my pupilage.
I also intend to pursue a postgraduate diploma at the Kenya School of Law and later a Master’s Degree before working in a law firm once again or performing advisory work.
What is your academic background?
I attended Moi High School Kabarak, Nakuru, where I attained a grade of A (83 out of 84 points) in my KCSE national examination, before I joined Strathmore University.
I was a student of St. George’s Greenland School (Nakuru) for my primary where I attained 425 out of 500 marks in my KCPE national examination.
While at Strathmore, I successfully completed section one of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) course.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am an avid Man United fan.
I also enjoy reading historical and political books or any form of long-form journalism.
Congratulations to Tony Nyakundi on this great success!!!