Catalysts of Change: Women Leaders in Science – CIMMYT Catalysts of Change: Women Leaders in Science – CIMMYT

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Catalysts of Change: Women Leaders in Science

October 3


Experts have indicated that having role models is critical for aspiring leaders, and these role models can differ from person to person. Role models represent and expand what is possible, and they demonstrate the mindsets and behaviors on how to grow. In our science organizations, there are currently limited women role models available. This is part of the vicious circle we seek to break. Through this series of seminars, we will make more role models and different leadership styles visible.

About the series

CIMMYT is launching a ‘TED Talk meets fireside chat’-style series on women leaders. We are doing this because, as Marion Wright Edelman said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” If we want more women leaders in science institutions like ours, we need to provide more opportunities to hear from women leaders about their life journeys, their lessons, and their insights. We seek to highlight women who are leaders in all sorts of capacities and in all sorts of fields and disciplines, because we believe that leadership styles can take many different forms. We aim to hold two seminars per month, starting on July 2023.  

Visit the Catalyst of Change page to watch past sessions from this series.

Join us for the seventh Catalysts of Change seminar on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, with Esther Ndumi Ngumbi

8 – 9 a.m. Mexico City; 4 – 5 p.m. Paris; 5 – 6 p.m. Nairobi; 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. New Delhi 

The seminar will be in English with interpretation in Spanish. Tune-in through LinkedIn livestreams the day of the event.

About Esther Ndumi Ngumbi

Assistant professor of entomology and African American studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Esther Ndumi Ngumbi is a Kenyan entomologist and academic. Esther Ngumbi grew up in Kwale County, a rural farming community in Kenya. She was introduced to farming at the age of seven, when her parents gave her a strip of land to cultivate cabbages. As a child she became aware of the challenges that farmers faced, including drought and bad soils. The first time she left her village was to attend Kenyatta University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 2007 she was awarded the American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Fellowship that allowed her to complete a doctoral degree in entomology at Auburn University. After earning her PhD, she remained at Auburn University as a postdoctoral scholar.

Ngumbi teaches entomology, African American studies and science communication. Her research focuses on the way that herbivores, plants, microorganisms and insects make use of volatile and non-volatile chemical signals. These include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that mediate conversations between plants, herbivores and microbes. 

Ngumbi has been recognized by a number of groups for her contributions to science and public engagement. In 2018, she was awarded the Society for Experimental Biology’s President’s Medal; in 2019, she was invited to give the plenary lecture at the British Ecological Society annual meeting; and in 2021, Ngumbi was awarded the Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Event Details

October 3
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