Student Spotlight; Valerie Wabungo Being in the Law School Motivates me
Bubbly, outspoken, and the last born of five children with an identical twin sister born 15 minutes ahead of her, Valerie Karuwa Wabungo, 3rd Year Bachelor of Law student, is keen on being impactful in every area she sets her foot on. She has a very different personality to her identical twin sister, believing that she must be the loudest, but also the most calm.
Who is Valerie?
I am an above average student who believes every step of my education journey is an achievement. During seminars and events, I ask a lot of questions, even if more than once, and though sometimes I feel the speakers would rather other students ask, I still go ahead and ask in an effort to understand the lessons better and be the best.
My twin sister was called to Precious Blood and I was called to a different school, I was not ready to separate with my sister. Then by sheer luck Kianda School called and offered us both spaces in the school and my mother did not think twice, we both went to Kianda. I got a mean grade of B+ in my national examinations exams, my sister got an A- and is studying culinary arts at the moment.
I always wanted to study law, but I felt the KCSE mean grade to join a university was unattainable, but when I got a B+ I did not think twice about the course.
I was happy to join Strathmore because I figured the values we learnt at Kianda School would be similar to those we will learn at Strathmore.
How did you start working at the Law School?
The communications administrator position was offered to the fourth years of the law school but none of them took up the offer. When it was presented to us I decided to take it up and challenge myself.
The position is involving; I run the law school social media pages, write articles for events, and I am always expected to be in the loop of activities happening for the school at all times. The positive to this is I get to understand lectures and seminars a lot more, and the topics being discussed, because I have to do live tweeting. In addition, a lot of doors open up through being in this position. Some organizations communicate directly to the school through the social media accounts, and with this, they get to know more about me and I establish my networks.
What school project have you been involved in?
For my community based attachment in 1st year, we were involved in a prisons project at Nairobi Remand and Langata Womens prison. We collected case information for some of the prisoners, and after assessing them, we directed some cases to the International Justice Mission to handle them pro bono.
I also worked with the International Justice Mission late last year, for a baseline survey for the standard of proof in the prosecution. We analyzed what happens before deciding to prosecute or bring a matter before court. The project took us to Voi and Lamu where we learnt a whole lot. Career wise am focusing on prosecution therefore this was a big thing for me.
This year, United Nations Environmental Association (UNEA) is holding a conference at the end of this month, on environmental impact, focusing on various topics. One major topic being illegal wildlife trade, a big topic in Kenya right now. Over and above that, my dissertation touches on this topic, which means attending this conference will be beneficial to me. The spots selected were very tight, I was among the last to be picked to attend. I am excited about it.
I am currently on industrial attachment where I have been paired up with clerks at the Archer & Wilcock Advocates. My position entails, registering businesses, filing documents in courts, paying for land rates etc. I understand that learning all these right now is better than in future, therefore I am not complaining. I have learnt a whole lot.
Source of Motivation
I have friends and classmates that are really supportive, who motivate me. Sometimes my classmates would apply for events in my absence and I just randomly find I was selected to attend them. Its encouraging.
The SLS staff are also supportive, Wambui, Betty, Vivian and Bala, are always checking up to see how things are going. These ladies have also helped me balance studying and working, teaching me how to delegate my work. I am currently training some 1st and 2nd year students on what I do, so that I can ease off my load and when time comes to move on from Strathmore, the communication position will not be left hanging.
My mentors are also good motivating ladies, Linet Njeri and Terry – who left the country to pursue her PhD, are always there to encourage me and motivate me to push on.
Who do you look up to?
I look up to my sisters, especially the eldest one, who has gone through a lot but still stands strong and achieves a lot. She is her own woman, shining in all she does.
In SLS there are a good number of inspiring lecturers who do well for themselves and motive us. Some of them include amazing ladies such as Jerusha Akin, Emmy Rono, Anne Charlotte, and Linet Njeri, who are at the peak of their careers at such young ages and do very well for themselves. They are very inspiring to know and learn from.
Your next 5-10 years
I will be 26 years in the next five years, I hope to be working at a law firm as a litigator. I love litigating, going to court, and standing before a judge.
10 years from now I want to be in the international sphere as an international criminal law prosecutor. I need to start this career locally though, therefore I need lots of experience and exposure.
In your spare time
I love sleeping, I am learning to appreciate sleep right now.
I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and my family especially my twin. Although she works crazy shifts and is mostly tired on weekends. However, on Sundays we hang out, attend rugby events, or do what we call chafua day where we eat everywhere and spend some money on food, then crawl to the bus stop to catch our bus home.
Your Strathmore Experience
I feel I needed to grow up really fast when I joined the university, a lot of responsibility is put upon students at Strathmore. I have enjoyed the experience though. I am stronger now more than I was before.