Imagine it. Dream it. Believe it. Do it. Achieve it.
Dr. Ngumbi is an author, researcher, educator, mentor, speaker and a champion for change around the issues of hunger, gender, education, youth activism, agriculture, sustainability, and public service. She works as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Auburn University, she founded organizations that empower farmers and youth in Kenya, and she’s served as a mentor for entities like the Clinton Global University Initiative and President Obama’s Young Leadership Program.
Dr. Ngumbi believes that everyone has a right to live a dignified life. She vows always to use her education as a voice for the voiceless, and use her intellect to serve the needs of the hungry, the poor and the needy! She has a huge heart, an unstoppable passion, and a deep commitment for developing Kenya, Africa, and our global world.
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it. -William Arthur Ward
Dr. Esther Ngumbi was born in a rural farming community along the Kenyan Coast. Education for girls was considered unimportant and there were no societal role models to inspire girls to reach for the stars. Her parents were teachers and struggled and sacrificed to raise enough money to pay for their children’s school fees.
Her parents would collect their pay checks, but eat nothing before coming back in the evening, hungry and tired. She wondered at their ability to be in town, in the midst of all the best foods, with money to purchase that food, but choose not to spend it on themselves so that Esther and her siblings could go to school. This had a powerful effect on her and inspired her to pursue her academic career goals and persevere against challenges however daunting they seemed.
She studied hard so that one day she could rescue her family and community from poverty and be a role model to many young African girls in similar situations. She went through high school and eventually college and attained a Bachelor and Masters of Science at Kenyatta University. On a beautiful summer day of August, 6, 2011, she attained what at times seemed to be an elusive dream: a doctorate degree in Entomology from Auburn University. She became the first woman in her community to obtain a Ph.D. degree.
She cried on her graduation day as she thought of her community in Kenya and the many girls in in her community who had the potential to be a scientist too, but simply lacked the opportunity. It was during that day that she told herself that she would do whatever needed to give girls more opportunities to break the poverty barrier, obtain an education and achieve greatness.
She has dedicated all of her passion, efforts, heart, and resources to bringing sustainable change in her community and she has become a role model for girls in her community.
Researcher. Author. Public Servant. Entreprenuer. Mentor. Educator. Motivational Speaker. Hunger Activist
Dr. Ngumbi is a post-doctoral researcher at Auburn University. She has received three U.S. patents for her research directed at basic and applied aspects of using microbial inoculants to promote growth and enhance tolerance to drought stress in multiple crops.
She was also inducted to the National Academy of Inventors.
Technology developed from the Patents will impact millions of farmers and result in commercial products that will generate revenue worth millions of dollars.
Her work has been featured several times.
She has published 11 peer-reviewed articles in journals like Applied Soil Ecology, Journal of Chemical Ecology and Bulletin of Entomological Research.
She is a Food Security Fellow with The Aspen Institute New Voices and has penned scores of articles for newspapers and online outlets like CNN, Scientific American, Time Magazine, NPR, Aljazeera, Los Angeles Times, SciDev. Net and World Policy Institute.
In 2014, she founded Oyeska Greens, an agriculture focused start-up that empowers farmers at the Kenyan Coast. Through it, she mobilizes farmers in her community and leads efforts to make the Kenyan Coast the next hub where agriculture, green house technology, entrepreneurship and smart marketing using cell phone technology can intersect to produce an everlasting change.
In 2016, Esther’s efforts led her community to host the first World Food Day Celebrations for Kwale County.
In 2012 she founded Spring Break Kenya, an organization that mobilizes young university students into public service.
Dr. Ngumbi has continued to be a public servant and encourages others to create the change they want to see.
She and her parents co-founded The Dr. Ndumi Faulu Academy in early 2012 to ensure that all children in Kenya can have a quality education.
She has mentored over 5,000 students through her organization Spring Break Kenya. She has also served as a mentor for girls and African students through President Obama’s Young African Leadership program, Clinton Global University Initiative, and Akili Dada, among many other organizations. She is an advisory mentor to organizations including Soil4Climate and Development in Gardening.
Every day, students and youths reach out to Dr. Ngumbi for help. She is happy to be there for them, and she loves knowing that students and youth can count on her.
She was the recipient of 2017 Women of Courage Award. Other prestigious fellowships she has received include the American Association of University Women’s International Fellowship and Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for Future Fellowship. She was a Finalist for President Clinton Global Hunger Award and was named by One World as one of 100 women the unseen powerful women who change the world.
She was the recipient of the first to be awarded 2017 Emerging Sustainability Leader Award.
“Today ‘s generation of young people holds more power than any generation before it to make a positive impact on the world”-President Bill Clinton
URBAN AGRI SUMMIT 2017, SOUTH AFRICA :
"I believe it is about time Africa has the conversations about vertical farming and other innovative urban agriculture practices. With the urban population expected to rise for most of the African cities, there will be the need for innovative approaches to feed the urban population. I do believe that Africa’s farms have to start going vertical."
Clinton Global University Initiative 2017, Northeastern University
Recognized by President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton as one of 18 commitment makers who made it to CGI U honor roll. Honor roll was created to recognize extraordinary alumni who, over the past decade, have made significant impact through their Commitments to Action or careers, and are continuing to dedicate their lives to taking on complex global challenges and making a difference around the world. Yes, out of 8700 alumnae, CGI U chose 18 and I was humbled to be one of them.
Clinton Global University Initiative 2017, Northeastern University
CGI U Alumni honor roll. President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton recognized extraordinary alumni who, over the past decade, have made significant impact through their Commitments to Action or careers, and are continuing to dedicate their lives to taking on complex global challenges and making a difference around the world.
Peer Reviewed Publications
1. Joseph, D.O., Zebelo, S., Ngumbi, E. and Fadamiro, H.Y. (2017). cis-Jasmone primes defense pathways in tomato via emission of volatile organic compounds and regulation of genes with consequences for Spodoptera exigua oviposition. Arthropod-Plant Interactions. doi:10.1007/s11829-017-9503-y.
2. Ngumbi E. and Kloepper, J.W. (2016). Bacterial-mediated drought tolerance: Current and future prospects. Applied Soil Ecology. 105: 109-125.
3. Ngumbi, E. and Fadamiro, H.Y. (2014). Comparative responses of four Pseudacteon phorid fly species to host fire ant alarm pheromone and analogs. Chemoecology. 25: 85-92.
4. Sims, S.R., Balusu, R.R., Ngumbi, E.N. and Appel, A.G. (2014). Topical and vapor toxicity of saturated fatty acids to the german cockroach (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 107: 758-763.
5. Ngumbi, E. and Fadamiro, H.Y. (2012). Species and sexual differences in behavioural responses of a specialist and generalist parasitoid species to host-related volatiles. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 102: 710-718.
6. Ngumbi, E., Jordan, M., and Fadamiro, H.Y. (2012). Comparison of associative learning of host-related plant volatiles in two parasitoids with different degrees of host specificity, Cotesia marginiventris and Microplitis croceipes. Chemoecology. 22: 207-215.
7. Ngumbi, E., Chen, L. and Fadamiro, H.Y. (2010). Electroantennogram (EAG) responses of Microplitis croceipes and Cotesia marginiventris and their lepidopteran hosts to a wide array of odor stimuli: Correlation between EAG response and degree of host specificity?. Journal of Insect Physiology. 56: 1260–1268.
8. Ngumbi, E., Chen, L. and Fadamiro, H.Y. (2009). Comparative GC-EAD responses of a specialist (Microplitis croceipes) and a generalist (Cotesia marginiventris) parasitoid to cotton volatiles induced by two caterpillar species. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 35: 1009-1020.
9. Medina-Ortega, K.N., Bosque-Perez, N.A., Ngumbi, E., Jimenez-Martinez, E.S. and Eigenbrode, S.D. (2009). Rhopalosiphum padi (Hemiptera: Aphididae) responses to volatile cues from Barley yellow dwarf virus-infected wheat. Environmental Entomology. 38: 836-845.
10. Ngumbi, E., Eigenbrode, S.D., Bosque-Perèz, N.A., Ding, H. and Rodriguez, A. (2007). Myzus persicae is arrested more by blends than by individual compounds elevated in headspace of PLRV-infected potato. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 33: 1733-1747.
11. Kostyukovsky, M., Trostyanetsky, A., Ngumbi, E., Zohar, D., Kitain, S., Naftaliyahu, U. and Melamed, Y. (2006). The sunn pest Eurygaster integriceps in Israel: harmfulness and control. In: Abstracts of presentations at the 24th congress of the Israeli entomological society, May 17, 2005 ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel. Phytoparasitica. 34: 380-400.
12. Ngumbi, E.N., Ngi-Song, A.J., Njagi, E.N., Torto, R., Wadhams, L.J., Birkett, M.A., Pickett, J.A., Overholt, W.A. and Torto, B. (2005). Responses of the stem borer larval endoparasitoid Cotesia flavipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) to plant derived synomones: laboratory and field cage experiments. Biocontrol Science and Technology Journal. 15: 271-279.
Opinion Pieces 2015
1. The Guardian: Responding to the Article If Dreamers Loose: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/17/ways-to-tackle-climate-change
2. Scientific American-Turning to Bacteria to Fight the Effects of Climate Change: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/turning-to-bacteria-to-fight-the-effects-of-climate-change/
3. The Hill: U.S Global nutrition plan should bring nutrition back to earth:
4. Thomson Reuters Foundation: Can Africa’s Urban Farms go Vertical?: http://www.trust.org/item/20150521041513-pm4gj/%C3%82
5. Food Tank: Africa’s Agricultural Revolution will be more Silicon Valley than Rift Valley: http://foodtank.com/news/2015/07/africas-agricultural-revolution-will-be-more-silicon-valley-than-rift-valle
6. The Christian Science Monitor -Could youth interest in agriculture boost Africa’s economy?: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2015/0713/Could-youth-interest-in-agriculture-boost-Africa-s-economy
7. World Policy Blog: Empowering Farmers on the Kenyan Coast: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2015/07/21/empowering-farmers-kenyan-coast
8. This is Africa: New tech seeds Africa’s agricultural revolution: http://www.thisisafricaonline.com/ftauthor/view/Esther+Ngumbi
9. The Aspen Journal of Ideas: Taking smallholder farmers commercial, step by step: http://aspen.us/journal/editions/novemberdecember-2015/taking-smallholder-farmers-commercial-step-step
10. The Conversation: How understanding microbes can help farmers manage Africa’s soil crisis: https://theconversation.com/how-understanding-microbes-can-help-farmers-manage-africas-soil-crisis-50469
11. NPR: Dear U.N., Why Is It Mainly A Man's World At The Climate Conference?: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/12/10/459204448/dear-u-n-why-is-it-mainly-a-mans-world-at-the-climate-conference
12. World Policy Blog: The Climate African Farmers Counted On Is Gone: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2015/12/15/climate-african-farmers-counted-gone
13. CNN: Women, it’s time to get rid of “manels”: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/31/opinions/ngumbi-dsilva-women-in-panels/
Opinion Pieces 2016
1. The Huffington Post: Sixteen reasons to campaign for women’s rights in 2016:
2. The Good Men Project: Men: It’s Time to Take a Personal Stand: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/men-its-time-to-take-a-personal-stand-wcz/
3. This is Africa: Ending gender discrimination in land ownership:
4. Los Angeles Times: African farmers need the tools and technology to adapt to a changing climate: http://www.latimes.com/world/global-development/la-fg-global-african-farmers-oped-story.html
5. Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Helping African youth find opportunity in a changing climate:
6. TIME Magazine: How dirt can help solve climate change: http://time.com/4338546/dirt-solve-climate-change/
7. Mail &Guardian: African farmers should think local:
8. Thomson Reuters Foundation: For a greener Green Revolution, restore soil health in Africa:
9. This is Africa: Farming’s bottleneck: Youth credit: http://www.thisisafricaonline.com/Development/Farming-s-bottleneck-Youth-credit
10. Medium: Girls can be Presidents-It begins with education: https://medium.com/@EstherNgumbi/girls-can-be-presidents-it-begins-with-education-2ecd41dfd6e7#.nrk305kl9
11. Medium: The United State of Women Summit: Girls at the Center: Understanding Obstacles and Exploring Solutions: https://medium.com/@EstherNgumbi/the-united-state-of-women-summit-girls-at-the-center-understanding-obstacles-and-exploring-91fc01d71039#.je39r9k9s
12. World Pulse: Three policy items women in leadership should undertake to improve women’s status globally: https://www.worldpulse.com/en/community/users/safecity/posts/69193
13. The Conversation: Africa needs to move faster to deliver life-saving soil science solutions: https://theconversation.com/africa-needs-to-move-faster-to-deliver-life-saving-soil-science-solutions-64757
14. BusinessDay Live: Microbial products hold promise to up crop yields: http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/2016/09/08/microbial-products-hold-promise-to-up-crop-yields
15. Inter Press Service: To effectively combat climate change, involve women: http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/09/to-effectively-combat-climate-change-involve-women/
16: Farming First: Driving agricultural innovation at the Kenyan Coast: https://farmingfirst.org/2016/09/esther-ngumbi-driving-agricultural-innovation-at-the-kenyan-coast/
17: Medium: White House champions of change celebrations: Extracurricular enrichment for marginalized girls: https://medium.com/@EstherNgumbi/white-house-champions-of-change-celebrations-extracurricular-enrichment-for-marginalized-girls-2df222490883#.8sos4d6vx
18: Medium: World Food Day Celebrations: https://medium.com/@EstherNgumbi/world-food-day-celebrations-e5e556e14fc7#.b9xmwn71o
19: SciDev.Net: Time is ripe to predict drought to help African farmers: http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/disasters/opinion/predict-drought-help-african-farmers.html
20: Medium: A statement in support of United Nations World Soil Day-December 5, 2016: https://medium.com/@EstherNgumbi/a-statement-in-support-of-united-nations-world-soil-day-december-5-2016-1982cb672114#.3bvixqoo7
21: SciDev.Net: Invest in African research and citizen science: http://www.scidev.net/global/r-d/opinion/fund-african-research-citizen-science.html
Opinion Pieces 2017
1: All Africa: To discover Africa’s biodiversity, look to the soil: http://allafrica.com/stories/201701130469.html
2. The Conversation: Why microbes are key to solving Africa’s food security crisis: https://theconversation.com/why-microbes-are-key-to-solving-africas-food-security-crisis-71719
3. Aljazeera: How to tackle repetitive droughts in the Horn of Africa:
4. World Policy Blog: Continuing the wins in soil health restoration in Africa:
5. Scientific American: Unlocking the power of African soil microbes: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/unlocking-the-power-of-african-soil-microbes/
6. The Conversation: Africa needs its own version of the vertical farm to feed growing cities:
7. NPR: The big dreams of a first-time farmer: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/04/03/521927273/the-big-dreams-of-a-first-time-farmer
8. World Policy Blog: Engaging our microbe allies in the battle against the fall armyworm in Africa: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2017/04/11/engaging-our-microbe-allies-battle-against-fall-armyworm-africa
9. March for Science Blog: Building a lab with a wedding registry: https://medium.com/marchforscience-blog/building-a-lab-with-a-wedding-registry-6cef60be9211
10. SciDev.Net: Ending Africa's chronic hunger cycle: http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/water/analysis-blog/africa-analysis-ending-africa-s-chronic-hunger-cycle.html
11. NPR: Why I stopped getting mad at my tough love mama: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/05/14/527952219/why-i-stopped-getting-mad-at-my-tough-love-mama?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social
12. Devex: Unleashing Africa’s youth farmpreneurs: https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-unleashing-africa-s-youth-farmpreneurs-90258?CID=AGR_TT_agriculture_EN_EXT
13. The Huffington Post: Trump budget’s foreign aid cuts could undercut U.S. security: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59258cfbe4b0dfb1ca3a0ff5
14. Scientific American: A farmer and scientists take on Trump and the Paris climate agreements: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/a-farmer-and-scientists-take-on-trump-and-the-paris-climate-agreements/
15. Medium: The enormous challenge of sustainably feeding an expanding population: https://medium.com/@gmoanswers/challenge-sustainably-feeding-expanding-population-33bcee94757cn
16. The Conversation: Demonstration farms can help revolutionise African agriculture: https://theconversation.com/demonstration-farms-can-help-revolutionise-african-agriculture-79675
17. World Policy Blog: Farmers must adopt agricultural practices that improve soil health: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2017/06/27/farmers-must-adopt-agricultural-practices-improve-soil-health
18. Scientific American: Scientists should talk directly to the public: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-should-talk-directly-to-the-public/
19. SciDev.Net: How Africa can prepare against the next El Niño and why? http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/disasters/opinion/africa-prepare-against-next-el-ni-o-and-why.html
20. Project Syndicate: Soil science for a hungry planet: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/agriculture-productivity-soil-microbe-technology-by-esther-ngumbi-2017-08
21. World Policy Blog: Stopping the menace of the fall armyworm: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2017/09/12/stopping-menace-fall-armyworm
22. Mail &Guardian: Bring women farmers to the food security table: https://mg.co.za/article/2017-09-20-00-bring-women-farmers-to-the-food-security-table
23. Medium: Is the world getting better? Is there hope? https://medium.com/@EstherNgumbi/is-the-world-getting-better-is-there-hope-bc9dc1d58998
24. All Africa: A quality education must involve more than teaching to the test: http://allafrica.com/stories/201710090955.html
25. World Policy Blog: Rebooting subsistence agriculture in rural areas: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2017/10/17/rebooting-subsistence-agriculture-rural-areas
26. Medium: Clinton Global University Initiative-2017 Meeting: https://medium.com/@EstherNgumbi/clinton-global-university-initiative-2017-meeting-9f16898383d8
27. Stanford Social Innovation Review: Growing urban agriculture: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/growing_urban_agriculture
Spore Magazine: Vertical farming in Africa: the sky's the limit: http://spore.cta.int/en/dossiers/article/vertical-farming-in-africa-the-skys-the-limit.html
AfroScientric: Meet this young Kenyan scientist whose pioneering research led to the issuance if two US patents: https://afroscientric.com/2017/03/27/meet-this-young-kenyan-scientist-whose-pioneering-research-led-to-the-issuance-of-two-us-patents/
CropLife International: Food Heroes: https://croplife.org/industry-profile/esther-ngumbi/
Nexus Media: Eight up-and-coming black leaders in the climate movement: https://nexusmedianews.com/eight-up-and-coming-black-leaders-in-the-climate-movement-975053b32232
Opelika Auburn News: Auburn alumna receives international award: http://www.oanow.com/news/auburn-agriculture-alumna-receives-international-award/article_6ce2adba-ecaa-11e6-b4b3-77c9714ec0b1.html
Auburn University College of Agriculture: Small farm, huge honor:
Levers in Heels: New voices fellow, Esther Ngumbi: Education is the gateway to ending poverty:
Soils4Climate: Soil4Climate welcomes Ngumbi, Ohlson to advisory board:
The PlainsMan: A researcher transcended gender roles, now she wants to help others do the same:
Auburn University: Auburn researcher Esther Ngumbi turning dreams into realities with a passion for giving back to her native village in Kenya: http://ocm.auburn.edu/newsroom/news_articles/2016/05/auburn-researcher-esther-ngumbi-turning-dreams-into-realities-with-a-passion-for-giving-back-to-her-native-village-in-kenya.htm
Auburn University College of Agriculture The Season Magazine: In her dreams: https://issuu.com/ourwork/docs/the_season__spring_2016
White House Office of Public Engagement: Community leaders briefing series – The ONE campaign: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/12/20/community-leaders-briefing-series-one-campaign
Auburn University Graduate School: Auburn researcher, world hunger advocate Esther Ngumbi makes a difference in Africa and beyond: http://grad.auburn.edu/news/2016/esther.html
Aspen Institute New Voices Fellowship: http://aspennewvoices.org/Fellows/Details/0030/Esther-Ngumbi
Opelika Auburn News: In lieu of wedding gifts, researcher launches lab campaign:
The Star Newspaper - Kenya: Village girl’s dream to bring a library home to Kwale: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2015/08/27/village-girls-dream-to-bring-a-library-hometo-kwale_c1193424
Cosmopolitan: This woman's wedding registry will inspire you to be a better person:
Standard Newspaper - Kenya: Scientist opens first public library in Mabafweni, Kwale: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/lifestyle/article/2000187925/scientist-opens-first-public-library-in-mabafweni-kwale
Standard Newspaper - Kenya: Project sharpens Kwale farmers: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000160739/project-sharpens-kwale-farmers/?articleID=2000160739&story_title=project-sharpens-kwale-farmers&pageNo=1
Standard Newspaper - Kenya: Passing on the keys out of poverty: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/lifestyle/article/2000110300/passing-on-the-keys-out-of-poverty
Huntsville Alabama Times: Auburn research fellow from Kenya tells Huntsville audience all girls deserve a chance to be educated: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2013/11/auburn_research_fellow_from_ke.html
Mwakilishi News: A Kenyan scientist in the US selected as a CGI University mentor: http://www.mwakilishi.com/content/articles/2013/01/05/a-kenyan-scientist-in-the-us-selected-as-a-cgi-university-mentor.html
American Association of University Women: American Association of University WomenEducation Foundation Fellowships and Grants 125th Anniversary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQFv56YYSws
Jamhuri Magazine: Spring break Kenya by Dr. Esther Ngumbi: http://jamhurimagazine.com/index.php/education/3710-spring-break-kenya-by-dr-esther-ngumbi.html
The Boeing Company: Clinton Global University Initiative 2013 Service Project: http://bcove.me/56cqbf8f
American Association of University Women: Alumnae Feature: http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/international-fellowships/
Auburn University: Take 5 Series Feature: http://www.auburn.edu/main/take5/ngumbi.html
Auburn University College of Agriculture: Reach for the Stars: http://www.ag.auburn.edu/comm/AI/2011/jun.pdf
One World Action: 100 women: The unseen powerful women who change the world: http://oneworldaction.wordpress.com/100-unseen-powerful-women/public-service/esther-ngumbi/
Schlumberger Foundation: Faculty for the future booklet cover picture: http://facultyforthefuture.net/sites/all/files/Faculty_for_the_Future_Booklet.pdf
Schlumberger Foundation: Faculty for the future poster: http://facultyforthefuture.net/sites/all/files/Faculty_for_the_Future_Poster.pdf
American Association of University Women: Why so few, women in science, technology engineering, and mathematics cover picture: http://iwl.rutgers.edu/Frontpage%20Updates/whysofew-1.pdf
You Tube Video’s
The Science I do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A59CSefjL_Q
Envisioning an end to poverty and hunger for women in Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYzRq_-KVcY
Innovations in food security and nutrition, Aspen Institute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2I6ktbjbcE
Official opening of Ella and Aiden library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te42_p7o5GA
Kwale County World Food Day Celebrations: Part 1,2, 3, & 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUfQG3vGqVM
Science Sound Bites: Don’t eat me bro: https://www.cure4kids.org/ums/home/files/file.php?op=download&id=7482
"The most influential speaker to me this semester was Esther Ngumbi. Hearing about how she was able to leave her community in Africa, but then come back and make such a difference was awesome. She had even less opportunities than what we are offered everyday and was still able to use the opportunities that she was given to change her entire community and not only make an impact on hunger, but also change the perspective of those who live there and give them a hope about what their future can be. To be honest, after leaving that class, I had a mild early life crisis. It made me question what I am doing in my everyday life and how I am making a difference at all. I realized that I tend to be pretty selfish in my way of thinking and in my actions. I have always thought that the reason that I am in college is to get an education and get a good job and eventually do something to give back once I am done with college and stable myself, but I’ve never considered what I can do along the way or the perspective I can have while getting an education. Everything that Esther achieved in her college career was not for the advancement of herself, but always with the thought of what she can do for her community back home by gaining an education. So glad that you can be an inspiration to those in your village and here at Auburn! "- a student at Auburn
“Esther, I wanted to let you know that I have officially accepted my offer from George Washington University!! They flew me up there for a visit and I was blown away by the department. I am so excited for this journey! Again, it absolutely would not have been possible without you. You have easily been my most influential mentor through this process and I quite literally do not think I would've gotten in without you. Being able to be a part of the manuscript and all of the changes and rejections has given me so much insight into being a scientist and how important it is to persevere. I can honestly say that because of you I will be a better scientist. I can't say that enough, I can't thank you enough. With love (and happy tears)” - a student mentee at Auburn
“A fervent advocate for ending world hunger, the energetic, upbeat Ngumbi has received numerous awards and honors while at Auburn, including most recently being selected to participate in Clinton Global Initiative University 2011 and being awarded a prestigious Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship grant, a program that provides substantial support to women from developing countries who are pursuing Ph.D. or post-doctoral studies in the physical sciences at top universities abroad and who will return to their native lands to lead and contribute to socioeconomic development there.” – Auburn University website feature
“Esther is a great inspiration, through her, I have been inspired to move students in Kenya not to simply wait and watch their brothers and sisters succumb to continuous threats of hunger and environmental mismanagement.” — Comment on the AAUW Blog Post
“Esther has already inspired so many at Auburn University and around the globe. She is a gift to all that are in her midst!” — Comment on the AAUW Blog Post
“Esther is one of the great visionary young leaders of the “next generation.” She has the intellectual capacity, academic background, compassionate spirit, and unrelenting drive that are so critically needed to be a dynamic force in ending hunger----arguably, the world’s most pressing sustainability issue. It has been pleasure and a privilege to work with her as part of the Auburn University War on Hunger and through the ever expanding Universities Fighting World Hunger alliance. Her imprint has already been felt far and wide and will only continue to grow as she works tirelessly toward her life’s goal of enhancing human health and well-being for all.” —Director of Programming, Universities Fighting World Hunger, Auburn University
“Esther has touched the heart of many. Of great interest to me is the Mentorship program for girls in secondary schools in Kenya into liking science and engineering and the empowering through creating a forum for young students in high school and university. I totally see her as an icon to keep watching. Go on Esther!” — Jonathan commenting on Esther’s listing as 100 Women: The Unseen Powerful Women Who Change The World
“I also support this nomination you truly are an inspiration to women around the globe, from humble beginnings to changing the world!! Bravo, Esther!” — Margrette commenting on Esther’s listing as 100 Women: The Unseen Powerful Women Who Change The World
“Esther has this rare gift in encouragement and empowerment. She is genuinely interested in seeing others succeed. Esther has this infectious energy and faith in herself, other people, and the future of our world. After spending time with her, you cannot just dismiss her as an impressive and inspiring woman. She is able to empower you to also take an active role in making the world better. She makes you believe that you can also be someone who inspires others.” — Nathan commenting on Esther’s listing as 100 Women: The Unseen Powerful Women Who Change The World
“Esther, I met you at the World Food Prize institute. I'm studying entomology and I must say, you a one awesome person. You are so excited about your work and research and doing some awesome things with youth in science. You work to inspire and I really admire that! I hope to inspire leaders in the fight against hunger and you are definitely a role model for that. Thanks so much, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have met you!” — Participant, 2014 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute
“I just wanted to thank you for coming to the Global Youth Institute event. I also want to say that I am truly inspired by you. You are an incredibly passionate woman and I admire that about you. Thank you for your encouraging words. I will never forget my experience at the Global Youth Institute and I want to thank you for that. You are truly an inspiration.” — Participant, 2014 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute
“I am brother to one of your teachers in you excellent institution which I found dear to me because it’s giving back to the community and better education sector in the area where the larger community devalues education. I am so humbled for your zeal to build a future for the young generation. I feel the worthy to see the people like you doing the great work down there in that village. I am ready to work with you, support where I can despite being a student. Being a village I grew in, it is important to share this with you. Let’s build and hold hands for better education support and village development. Be blessed.” — A student in her village
"As the saying goes; Rome was not built in a day, I can say you woke us up, made us stand up, and now we have started the journey, steps by step. One very important point to note is to get people together and work as team is tasky But through your own thinking we are a group aiming for great things. Since we came together ,we are learning from each other and through doing or through advice from the resource people you have connected us to, I think and hope by NEXT year, you will be happy to see us WIN the RACE you flagged. Lastly as the short rains approach, we intend to plant water melons, tomatoes and kales because they do well during the short rains. We shall let you know our progress as the year goes. Again thank you for your encouragement and for wishing us, our families, community, county and the world as a whole, a better life." -A Farmer in her village
2017: Invited Speaker, Emory University, Population Biology, Ecology & Evolution Graduate Program, Atlanta, GA.
2017: Invited to serve as an Editorial Board Member, Sustainability Journal.
2017: Invited Speaker, Ecology of Soil Health Summit, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
2017: Winner and Recipient, 2017 Emerging Sustainability Leader Award.
2017: Recipient, 2017 Women of Courage Award.
2017: Appointed to serve as a board member for Development in Gardening.
2017: Appointed to serve as a board member for The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF).
2017: Selected as a Clinton Global University Initiative Commitment Mentor for Agriculture.
2016: Appointed to serve as a Board Member for Soils4Climate, Thetford, VT.
2016: Invited to participate in The White House meeting on Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline. September, 19, Washington, DC.
2016: Appointed to serve as a judge for The Science Ambassador Scholarship. The Winner receives full tuition coverage for up to four years.
2016: Outstanding Leadership Award, Association of Kenyan Diaspora Organizations Inc. June 25, Atlanta, GA.
2016: Invited to participate in The White House United State of Women Summit, June 14 & 15 Washington, DC.
2016: Invited to participate in the Inaugural World Food Prize Alabama Youth Institute, June 17, Tuskegee, Alabama.
2016: Invited to serve as a MasterCard Foundation Scholars Mentor.
2016: Appointed by Entomological Society of America President to serve on Entomological Society of America Science Policy Committee for 2 years (2016-2018).
2015: Invited to participate in New Voices in the African Agricultural Sector, Aspen Institute Ideas Spark Incubator,Tuesday, November, 10, 2015, Washington, DC.
2015: Invited to participate in Aspen Institute Food Security Strategy Group Meeting, July 7-9, Milan, Italy.
2015: Food Security Fellow, Aspen Institute, New Voices Fellowship.
2014: Invited to serve as a Faculty Expert, 2014 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, October, 18, 2014.
2014: Selected to serve as a Judge, The Agricultural Innovation Prize, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, April, 25-26, 2014.
2014: Invited to serve as a Judge, Entomological Society of America Student Activity Awards Panel.
2014: Science Teacher, Restoring Inspiration through Science and Artistic Expression, Virginia CommonWealth University, July 14-18, 2014, Richmond, Virginia.
2014: Invited to attend The Chicago Council on Global Affairs 2014 Global Food Security Symposium. Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of Weather Volatility and Climate Change, Washington, DC.
2014: Selected to serve as a Clinton Global University Initiative Commitment Mentor, Agriculture Commitments.
2014: Speaker, Clinton Global University Initiative Meeting. Building Your Team: Strengthening Organizational Leadership and Capacity Skills Session. March 21-23, Arizona State University.
2013: Co-inventor (25%) for a US Patent NO. 8,445,255 B2-Inoculants including Bacillus Bacteria for Inducing Production of Volatile Organic Compounds in Plants-Patent Issued May, 2013.
2013: Invited to attend The Chicago Council on Global Affairs 2013 Global Food Security Symposium 2013. Capitalizing on the Power of Science, Trade, and Business to End Hunger and Poverty, Washington, DC.
2013: Distinguished Honoree, 4th Annual Awards Gala, Leaders Recognizing Leaders Inc., FL, USA.
2013: Invited to Present the Opening Talk at the 2013 Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, Auburn.
2013: Selected to serve as a Clinton Global University Initiative Commitment Mentor (Conservation and Ecology).
2013: Invited as a Speaker for the Third Annual Conference of The International Alliance of Women Scientists and Scholars for a Better World to be held July 4-6, 2013, Netherlands.
2013: Selected to Serve in the Entomological Society of America Student Activity Award Panel.
2013: Invited to serve as a Judge for President Clinton Global Hunger Leadership.
2012: Invited to be a Reviewer for Forest Ecology and Management Journal.
2012: Invited by Kenyan Embassy in DC to speak on mentoring the Youth to develop leadership competencies in Kenya.
2012: Invited by Auburn University to speak to incoming Fresh Women in Science Workshop.
2012: Selected to Serve in the Entomological Society of America Student Activity Award Panel.
2012: Invited by Kansas State University to Speak at The Kansas Hunger Dialogue Conference.
2012: Invited by United Nations to attend a series of special briefings. UN Headquarters, New York City.
2011: Faculty for the Future Fellow, Schlumberger Foundation.
2011: Auburn’s University’s Distinguished Doctoral Outstanding Student.
2011: Invited to be a Reviewer for Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology.
2011: Invited to be a Reviewer for African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development.
2011: Selected to Serve in the Entomological Society of America Student Activity Award Panel.
2011: Listed as 100 Women: The Unseen Powerful Women Who Change the World-One World Action.
2011: Appointed to serve in the Advisory Board for Benedictine University Women’s Institute for Global Leadership.
2011: Selected as a volunteer for Annual Clinton Global Initiative Meeting, New York City.
2011: Selected to attend Leading Edge Institute Dynamic Leadership Training, Judson, Alabama.
2011: Selected to attend 2011 Annual Meeting, Clinton Global University Initiative, UC San Diego.
2010: Winner, Student Debate against Penn State, Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting.
2010: Invited to be a Reviewer for PSYCHE Journal – Hindawi Publishing Corporation.
2010: Faculty for the Future Fellow, Schlumberger Foundation.
2010: Invited to Serve in 2011 Women’s Leadership Conference Planning Committee.
2010: Travel Award by Clinton Global University Initiative.
2009: Winner, Student Debate, Against University of Florida, Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting.
2009: Finalist, President Clinton Global Hunger Leadership Award.
2009: Travel Award by the International Society of Chemical Ecology.
2009: The Calvin Jones Endowment Award.
2008: Graduate Student Assistantship, Auburn University.
2007: International Fellowship -American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.
2007: Future Leaders Scholarship-Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development.
2003: State of Israel/Ministry of Agriculture Research Assistantship.
2002: State of Israel/Ministry of Agriculture (Center for International Cooperation) Scholarship.
1999: Scholarship by International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), DRIP Scholar.
1993: A Trophy for Being the Best Overall Top Performing Student- Matuga Girls High School, Kenya.
Invited Guest Speaker Talks
2017: Speaker, Auburn Global, Auburn University.
2017: Speaker, Freshman Leadership Challenge Fellows, Auburn University.
2017: Speaker, John Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.
2016: Speaker, Kenya Diaspora Conference, Atlanta, GA.
2016: Speaker, Aspen Institute New Voices, South Africa.
2016: Speaker, Freshman Leadership Challenge Fellows, Auburn University.
2016: Speaker, College of Pharmacy, Auburn University.
2015: Speaker, Forest Trends Board Meeting, Washington, DC.
2015: Speaker, Aspen Institute Board Meeting, Washington, DC.
2015: Speaker, Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen, Colorado.
2014: Speaker, The George Washington University, School of Engineering and Applied Science.
2014: Speaker, Auburn for Water Chapter, Auburn University.
2014: Speaker, Freshman Leadership Challenge Fellows, Auburn University.
2014: Speaker, Clinton Global University Initiative Meeting, Arizona State University.
2013: Speaker, UAH Women Studies Department, University of Alabama, Huntsville.
2013: Speaker, Incoming Fresh Women in Science Workshop, Auburn University.
2013: Speaker, Leadership Challenge Workshop, Auburn University.
2013: Speaker, American Association of University Women National Convention, New Orleans.
2013: Speaker, The International Alliance of Women Scientists and Scholars for a Better World Conference, Netherlands.
2013: Speaker, 2013 Women’s Leadership Conference, Auburn University.
2012: Speaker, Incoming Fresh Women in Science Workshop, Auburn University.
2012: Speaker, Kenya Diaspora Conference USA, 2012: Shaping the Destiny of Kenya.
2012: Speaker, the Kansas Hunger Dialogue Conference, Kansas State University.
2011: Speaker, Women’s Leadership Breakfast Meeting, September, 2011, Auburn University.
2010: Speaker, Harrison School of Pharmacy, October 8, 2010, Auburn University.
2010: Speaker and Panelist, Earth Day, April, 22, 2010, Auburn University.
2009: 1st Annual Speaker Series and NW District Meeting, November, 14, 2009, Texas Tech University.
2008: 2nd Annual Auburn Women’s Leadership Conference, March 12, 2008.
2007: North Carolina State University Annual Fall Ethics Event, November, 12, 2007, North Carolina.
2007: Annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet Event, November, 6, 2007, University of Idaho.
2007: University of Idaho Project Hunger: Fashion with a Cause Event, April, 21, 2007.
2007: Student presenter - 2nd Annual War on Hunger Summit. February 23-25, Auburn University.