Raised in two distinct cultures, Christine Wangeci Gichigi has chosen a double major that connects her past with her future.
With a goal of addressing gender imbalances through improved access to health care, Gichigi is double majoring in biochemistry and gender, sexuality and women’s studies. “I hope to one day work with women and children in Africa, specifically Kenya,” she said. “I want to pursue a medical career to have a platform that has the power to change things.”
Gichigi grew up in Kenya and immigrated with her sister and mother to California when she was 11, joining her father. She attended high school and community college in Fresno, then transferred to UC Davis.
Professor Amina Mama is the first professor here at Davis, or anywhere, where I can see myself represented. She’s the vision of the woman I would like to be in the future.
Although she was interested in African American and African studies at UC Davis, Gichigi decided to double major in gender studies thanks to a transformative class with Professor Amina Mama, director of the UC Davis Feminist Research Institute. “She changed my perspective on what gender studies could be in relation to African politics, identity and the region,” Gichigi said. “I saw that it was better for me to choose gender studies because I see my future working in Africa and gender differences are found transnationally, compared to African and African American studies which is centered in the USA. I will learn more about the continent and the women I am trying to target.”
Best advice: Try something outside your comfort zone.
I know I’m not an engineer, but I joined Engineers Without Borders. The team I’m with will go help women in Kenya, building a place where they can get clean water. I’ll be coming up with different tools to educate women and children about the water. This is putting me a step closer toward my goal of helping women in Kenya.
Favorite class: WMS 145 (Women's Movements in Transnational Perspective)
WMS 145 changed my perspective of Africa and also introduced me to a professor who challenges the notion of what Africa is capable of, and the idea that Africa is modern. That’s a notion I didn’t even hear from my African friends and family.