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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Young African lady grows from being poor to winning a scholarship, becomes a top Medical Doctor in the US

A young African lady named Asha Chepkorir Sigei-Rono who grew up in poverty defied all her challenges to win a scholarship and become a top Medical Doctor in the United States.

Asha is a Kenyan who grew up in Kericho town, where she said her father worked hard to ensure his children got a good education. Her father was a taxi driver, and her mother cooked and sold to neighbors to supplement her husband’s income.

She stated that her father sold his Taxi to pay for her education when she wanted to enroll in high school. “We did not have much, but we had what was necessary. He said he could only afford our fees up to high school,” she said.

“My fear was that my education would end at form four. Luckily, things worked out in different ways. Sometimes miracles happen,” she added.



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Asha mentioned that with the challenges she also faced the traumatic incident of losing her mother who died after being hit by a car while crossing the road on her way to Hawk Mandazi.

She stated that when she sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination she scored an A. “I was so happy after scoring an excellent grade. But after the celebrations, my father, anxious, asked me, ‘Asha, how can you score an ‘A’ yet you know very well that we do not have money? Now what will I do,” she said.

“It wasn’t that my father was angry at me; it was more about what was unfolding before us. I had applied for an engineering course, but my father advised me to apply for a medical course,” she added.


Not having funds for the university, Asha decided to help her father run his small kiosk in the slum. She also got a part-time job at Milimani Primary School, a private school, to help her raise money for her university education. 

In the course of saving for her university fees, she also met an old man who had taken shelter from the rain at her father’s kiosk. She stated that she served him tea and as they interacted, he inquired about her education.

Asha said he told him her story and the man helped her get a scholarship from James Finlay, a tea factory. She joined the University of Nairobi’s School of Medicine and graduated with a Medicine degree.

After graduation, Asha interned at Kericho Hospital and was awarded for being the best medical intern. “It was a pleasant experience for me working from home. I was not being paid much, but with the earnings, I could support my siblings and father. I was happy to help people,” she said.

In 2013, she got married and moved to the United States where her husband Denis Rono who is a psychiatric nurse was living. She then enrolled for a master’s degree in Management in clinical informatics at Duke University,  North Carolina in the United States.

Six years after moving to the United States, Asha applied for a pathology residency program through East Tennessee State University and completed a one-year hematopathology fellowship.

Now, Asha has been appointed the Chief pathologist and medical director of the Iredell Memorial Laboratory. Her role entails overseeing accurate diagnostics.“I think I am good at what I do. Having a master’s in clinical informatics boosted my chances against other applicants,” she said.


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