A graduating senior, Hepsiba Chepngeno has excelled in Agribusiness Management (ABM) at Michigan State University, earning a GPA over 3.9, on top of expertly building connections between her studies and her home in Bomet, Kenya.
Growing up in a rural farming community allowed Chepngeno to see the importance of agriculture in people's livelihoods. It was there that she witnessed the hunger cycle, and was struck by the fact that even farmers who literally grew food were still going hungry.
“When I received this chance to come to US, I knew I wanted to learn how I could change that hunger cycle,” Chepngeno said. “I thought that agribusiness would be a great place to start, which led me to MSU’s AFRE.”
A part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Hepsiba has gone far and beyond just doing well in class. Chepngeno served as Outreach Chair with the Honors College International Scholars Advisory Board, was a member of Bridges International and MSU Real Life, and has taken part in several research activities with fellow students and AFRE faculty members.
“AFRE has given me a chance to explore the US, as well as the world’s, food systems,” said Chepngeno. “It has given me a lense for which I see the world; and most importantly, it has given me tools to make a meaningful contribution in my career and hopefully in the world.”
One of Chepngeno’s research projects focused on relating agribusiness to supply chain management within Africa. She explored the role of non-government organizations in improving and supporting smallholder agriculture around the world. Chepngeno was especially interested in this project, as she hopes to work with organizations that may not rely on government influence, but are focused and passionate about improving the lives of many through agriculture.
“The research opportunities I found here were exactly what I needed to focus my learning,” Chepngeno said. “I was able to network with a diverse group of individuals and professors who were always willing to put my needs as a student first.”
Chepngeno was awarded the Outstanding Academic Achievement in Agribusiness Management award from the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE), at the AFRE Awards night on April 19, 2018, for her stellar academic performance, and her influential role within the department.
After graduation, Chepngeno will return to Kenya and work with One Acre Fund, a non‐profit enterprise that works with small-holder farmers in Africa. She also hopes to attend graduate school and study agricultural economics and international development.
When asked if she had any advice for fellow MSU students, Chepngeno responded, “MSU is a great place to learn and form friendships. There are so many opportunities here. You just need to look around. Take that step, explore new territories and embrace every opportunity you get along the way, because time does fly.”