benson getenga ongarora

Dr. Benson Getenga Ongarora

Associate Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer
Moi University, Eldoret Kenya 

“Given a second chance, I will pursue the same career”- Dr. Benson Getenga Ongarora

Dr. Benson Getenga Ongarora was born and raised in the rural parts of Kisii County, Kenya. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. Benson enrolled for a MS degree and, after completing a year of coursework, he was accepted into the Doctoral program in the Department of Chemistry at Louisiana State University. As a graduate student, Benson joined Professor Graça Vicente’s group where he worked on phthalocyanines as biomarkers and possible photodynamic therapy agents. He published seven journal articles as a graduate student and was also a recipient of Coates Travel Awards which allowed him to present at several conferences.  When asked what he appreciated most about his time at LSU as a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, Benson answered, “I appreciated the working environment, support from the Graduate School, and the quality of training.”

Benson graduated with his PhD in Organic Chemistry from Louisiana State University in 2012.  He accepted a position as Warden of KICHAKA Sector and then became a Senior Lecturer in the Chemistry Department at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT). Benson also serves as an Associate Dean of Students for the University.

When asked if there was an important turning point along the way, Benson said, “Getting a chance to work back at home gave me the perfect opportunity to mentor others and touch lives.”

Benson said that there was nothing that he would do differently in his career if he was given a do-over. When asked what advice he would give to current graduate students in LSU Chemistry, he replied, “Chemistry requires patience, ethics and resources. It requires investment in terms of funds and time for results to be achieved, but above all human capital brings success.  The human race is looking up to chemists for solutions in different aspects of life.”

Profile contributed by Ashley Taylor and Carol Taylor