Okong’o Kinyanjui ‘20

What’s your hometown?
I’m from Nairobi, Kenya.

Why Quest?
I was looking for three things in a university: self-designed curriculum, the Block Plan model, and to be able to enjoy lots of time outside of class every day.

What is your Question?
“How does archival violence operate in the age of mass (mis)information?”

I’m looking at how propaganda is created in East African cyberspaces to erase and complicate identity politics.

What’s best thing about Block Plan?
The Block Plan allows you to focus thoroughly on one course and get as detailed as you like. I have found it advantageous to be able to fashion my life outside of class in a way that contributes to my academic pursuits. I can take a political science course, study only that for a month without interruption, and at the same time participate in student politics as the SRC President. I feel like I am getting a really well-rounded education.

What’s your Keystone plan?
Funny story—I accidentally already completed my Keystone. I designed an independent study block to create a graphic novel that embodies critical social theory. I just wanted to find a cool way to disseminate ideas from books I had been reading from other classes, and it became my Keystone.

Tell me about how you are involved in the Quest community, especially the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).
I initially joined the SRC in my second year as Human Rights Minister. And now I am President. The first thing I wanted to do when I got to Quest was get involved in community organizing. I was really fascinated by all the cool questions people were studying and wished for a platform for the Quest community to connect and share ideas. This motivated me to start directing and organizing TEDxQuestU on campus.

TED Talks! Tell us about that.
Through the Bezos Scholars Program, I got an all-expenses covered opportunity to intern with TED at their global conference in Tanzania! I worked directly with the 2018 TED speakers, including award winning scientists, talented artists, globally renowned authors, activists and even presidents!

What will you do after Quest?
I would like to build my own animation house that creates content that embodies Transnational Feminist Thought. I also love academics and will likely pursue grad school.

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