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Kevin Muchiri: Pursuing Excellence and Finding Solutions

Graduating Summa Cum Laude this May with a Master of Engineering Management wasn't Kevin Muchiri's only success these past two years. An active and vibrant young Golden Key member from the small border town of Busia, Kenya, Kevin was the first international student to serve as the student representative to the ODU Board of Visitors. Between his time as a BOV rep and his time serving as a senator in the ODU Student Government Association, Kevin collaborated to improve several issues including undergraduate advising and campus safety.

But the journey to accomplishment was not easy. Like most international students, Kevin still remembers the exhaustive story of when he first came to ODU.

"I was standing alone in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. I had just missed my connecting flight to Norfolk and I thought I had lost my luggage, too.  I had a backpack that contained, among other things, my Bible, notebook, and a packet of digestive biscuits. I was still converting prices in my head, counting my shillings to dollars. I thought to myself - what am I doing? Why am I choosing to do this? I remember reading a verse in my Bible then and thinking I was like Jeremiah - following God through the wilderness. But I knew I was making a big (and wise) investment to come to ODU. I knew I had to write this moment down and not forget it."

Despite his wavering health and tumultuous trips between politically-shifting Kenya and the US over the years, anyone who has met Kevin will describe his disposition as both calm and persistent. Kevin attributes most of his encouragement to how he was raised by his father, a small town hotel entrepreneur, believing that, "instead of complaining about a situation, you should try and find solutions."

Kevin has employed this motto on a personal level when he walked from office to office to find employment on campus and on a professional level when he sought funding from the state of Virginia for better undergraduate advising.

Politically, Kevin Muchiri's presence on the board speaks to the diversity of the ODU campus. Practically, it represents the determined spirit of one student who has maximized the potential of all his available resources.  In the words of one of Kevin's former employers and mentors, Kenneth McCauge, in the office of International Admissions, "he's earned all of his achievements."

Though Kevin is now interning at STIHL Inc. in Virginia Beach and hopes to return back to Kenya soon, he assuredly states, "I will always be a Monarch for life."



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