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Student Spotlight: Nassib Mugwanya, EdD ‘22

Nassib Mugwanya, who will graduate with his doctorate in December, majored in agricultural and extension education and a minor in genetic engineering and society. His dissertation title is Extension Agent Competencies and Training Needs on Public Issues Education: A Case of Genetically Engineered Crops in Uganda. After successfully defending his dissertation in April, Mugwanya is excited to see what the future holds for him while taking into account the international road he took to get here. 

Mugwanya says that growing up in Uganda, where his grandmother was a smallholder subsistence farmer, catalyzed his passion for supporting smallholder farmers. Specifically, he’s interested in supporting informed decision making among farmers on the adoption of new agricultural innovations that could improve their livelihoods, as well as in the ways in which experts, like extension agents, can engage effectively with farmers on complex agricultural innovations.

Nassib Mugwanya, EdD

“I have had a deep and rich learning experience at NC State”, Mugwanya notes. “NC State’s slogan of ‘Think and Do’ challenged me to be more intentional about how my knowledge and perspective would apply to solving real world problems facing smallholder farmers in Africa today”. Mugwanya embraced the think and do mindset while a student by participating in events, conferences, and activities related to food and agriculture, including serving as a featured speaker for the US Department of State’s “Reconciling Agroecology and Biotechnology” webinar in 2021. Mugwanya says that his doctoral committee, chaired by Jay Jayrante and including Dara Bloom, Joseph Donaldson, and Jason Delborne, have been kind and supportive throughout his doctoral journey, as have the the faculty, staff, and other students in the Agricultural and Human Sciences Department and the Genetic Engineering and Society Center. 

Mugwanya says that one of his important inspirations is the late Harvard Professor Calestous Juma, a thinker and academic on the role of innovation and technology in transforming agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa. “His book The New Harvest was very influential in my early career days as an extension agent in Uganda with a keen interest in the role of innovation in transforming smallholder farming”, Mugwanya notes. 

Now officially Nassib Mugwanya, EdD, Mugwanya is looking forward to putting his knowledge to work. “I am passionate about science and working with smallholder farmers”, he says. “I see myself working with global organizations committed to improving the livelihoods of farmers through science and innovation”.