Patricia Kingori, a 28-year-old Kenyan native, has become the youngest Black woman to receive tenure at the University of Oxford, according to Quartz Africa. In a statement released on Dec. 13, the university said the sociologist earned "this historic distinction in recognition of the quality and global impact of her research on academia and beyond."
"To have my body of work recognized in this way is a great honor, and I am deeply grateful to the many people who have inspired and supported me so far," Kingori said in the statement.
According to the university, the 28-year-old has served as an adviser to organizations such as the World Health Organization, Save the Children, Medecins San Frontieres and the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, as well as the Obama Administration’s White House Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa initiative.
Hey world! Please stand up & recognise Oxford’s youngest ever black woman full professor! She is Patricia Kingori, a Kenyan born sociologist whose primary expertise is in exploring the everyday ethical experiences of frontline workers in global health. pic.twitter.com/ZWLWt4mgQ7
— Mamokgethi Phakeng????️???? (@FabAcademic) December 18, 2021
Kingori, born to a Kenyan father and Caribbean mother, moved to the United Kingdom when she was a teenager. Although there have been challenges along the way, the sociologist is thriving as a researcher focused on studying the ethical experiences of frontline workers in global health.
The professor faced a major hurdle when she relocated to Kenya with family after taking a year of maternity leave. While she tried to continue her career in her native home, civil unrest in the country forced her to leave in 2007. Kingori, who was pregnant with her second child at the time, eventually went back to Kenya 10 months later and continued to conduct research.
She later completed her Ph.D. and earned the Wellcome Research Fellowship, allowing her to conduct postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford’s Ethox Centre. The Kenyan researcher has since continued to thrive at the 925-year-old institution. In five years, she transformed from a research lecturer to an associate professor at the university.
“Patricia has moved many mountains and shattered countless glass ceilings to secure this historic achievement,” said Jan Royall, the principal baroness at Oxford’s Somerville College, according to Quartz Africa. Oxford’s Somerville College is a constituent college that was created for women in the late 1800s at a time when universities denied them entry. “In the truest tradition of Somerville, she is a woman of firsts, a trailblazer. And yet, I have no doubt that where Patricia leads with such determination, implacable good humor and brilliance, others will follow.”