Kenyan-American student Kelly Chege has been selected as a member of the maiden class of the US Global Leadership Coalition’s Next Generation Global Leaders Network.
Chege, a Ph.D. student in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is among about 100 young professionals from 33 US states that were chosen through a rigorous application process to take part in the year-long program.
The program is designed to engage the young professionals in leadership, skills training, and mentorship to support their engagement with global development and diplomacy in their communities.
Chege is pursuing dual degrees in bio-renewable systems within the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, in addition to international agriculture and development. He says this enables him to be transdisciplinary in his studies.
“It’s opened my eyes to all the possibilities of what I could do and what needs to happen in this world. The Next Gen Global Leaders Network will be a stepping stone to connect with more globally-minded people, as well as round out my skills in international agricultural development,” said Chege.
Chege says he applied for the program to learn more about the workings of international relations and diplomacy related to agriculture and would like to embark on a career with the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service as an agricultural ambassador.
He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and holds an undergraduate degree in marketing and international business from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in agriculture and environmental systems from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Deanna Behring, the assistant dean, and director of international programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences said she is pleased for Chege’s opportunity to grow with Next Gen.
“He’s one of our first engineering students to pursue a dual degree in international agriculture and development, and it’s testimony to his technical capabilities as well as his breadth of understanding and commitment to social engagement for global development. Kelly will shine in this new role — he possesses excellent organizational skills, is adept at professional speaking, and has a very engaging and entrepreneurial spirit,” she noted.