The chemistry at undergraduate level titled ‘Preparation of

The Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee of KenyaPersonal Statement – Alex KiruiScorched by the sun in the semi-arid Solai area in the northern part of Nakuru County, I sang the song “cha kutumaini sina” meaning I have no hope signifying the end of life of a year old young ambitious boy, George Kipruto. His life had been halted by one of killer diseases in Kenya, Malaria. I wanted to be a doctor since my tender age but my grades in high school were not good enough to pursue my dream. I felt like I had lost my major goal in life being disturbed by many deaths caused by Malaria in Kenya and sub-Sahara Africa. I chose another domain in science, chemistry, which always fascinated me due to various researches being carried out in the area. I have great interest in physical chemistry because diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and type II diabetes have all been treated using biomolecular NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) techniques to study the biophysical basis of function and malfunction of proteins in health and disease.My interest in Oxford dates back three years ago when I was in my second year at undergraduate level. Professor Andrew Baldwin who is an associate professor of physical and theoretical chemistry always motivated me by the research work he does. In the realm of physical chemistry, Professor Baldwin uses NMR technique to study the biophysical basis of function, and malfunction of proteins in health and disease. He tries to understand the mechanism by which these proteins are able to inhibit, and in some cases prevent protein aggregation and amyloid formation. His approach is to combine cutting edge NMR spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy and electron microscopy measurements and by doing so, he can characterize the structures and dynamics of these heterogeneous assemblies with very high precision.Physical chemistry has given me a wider scope to research about Malaria. Since Malaria parasite has the ability to change its body surface which makes it resistant to drugs and almost impossible to get its vaccination, such research by Professor Baldwin can give a lasting solution to malaria which will see reduction in deaths caused by this diseases. Doing a research in industrial chemistry at undergraduate level titled ‘Preparation of mosquito repellent from orange peels’ – this was driven by the increase in Malaria related deaths which would in turn affect the economy of Kenya and Africa as a whole. It was also aimed at environmental conservation since it was using the peels which are considered wastes and convert them into more useful product. I gained a wealth of skills including analytical, presentation and research methods. With this, I got the urge to pursue research to advance levels.For my academic record, I have had quite an excellent record at my undergraduate level especially in my third year where I managed to get 13 straight ‘A’s and three ‘B’s out of three possible sixteen units. I did in my third year. As I wait my fourth year results which are due in September, I am confident that my fourth year results are also excellent. Consequently I am expecting to graduate with first class honors in my graduation which is scheduled to be inDecember this year. I have had to overcome a lot of financial difficulties with my father being the sole provider in the family of six children where I am the second born. My academic needs were sometimes not well met, like books and even school fees. I largely depended on the loan from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB). With the minimal facilities available to me, I got the drive to excel in life with my family being my greatest support and the qualities of Faith, self discipline, commitment and persistence enable me to excel academically.I also enjoy participating in a range of sports where I represented my high school in football and walking race at the district level. I also represented my faculty in walking during the inter-Faculty sports games where I managed the second position. I play scrabble and chess too. I found importance in these sporting activities as they enhance my team working skills, creativity and personal character. In my free time I do a number of volunteer work and community outreach. I am an active member of friends of community (FOC), a community outreach group which was founded this year in February. We also run a program called Join the Dots move where sacrifice of members and friends, we buy pens and books for the orphans and the needy in children’s home. This month (16th August) we visited Kiota children’s home in Thika where we donated pens and books. Under the same umbrella of FOC, we run a program called skip a meal to save a child. Last month (18th July), we visited Saidia Furaha children’s home in Kitengela where members sacrificed their lunch just to put a smile on a child’s face. I enjoy these activities as it gives me the chance to interact with new people and the challenges they got through being in children’s home.I am also an environmental enthusiast; I participate in Oloolua Forest Green Initiative aimed at planting more indigenous trees and cleaning up of forests due to pollution from the neighboring people. Due to this, the initiative has embarked on teaching people in Oloolua the importance of forests and how to avoid forest fires.Briefly, my career objectives are as below;? To research deeply about malaria control in physical chemistry area to try and reduce the number of deaths caused by the disease.? To use my knowledge to protect the environment from any form of chemical methods that might be of negative impact to the flora and fauna.? To publish articles in the science journal and patent any new technology developed.? To do a thesis on mosquito control to prevent malaria.I would like to further my knowledge with the best professors at Oxford, the likes of Professor Andrew Baldwin, to give me the base for a successive career in the field of physical and theoretical chemistry. The Rhodes scholarship is an opportunity that I hope to seize and develop academically, socially and personally.Thank you.