Meet Monica Matekenya

Periodically we will feature the great students that are part of the NC State Global WaSH Cluster. Today, we’re getting to know Monica Matekenya.

NC State Global WaSH Cluster’s Featured Student: 

Members of the Pack don’t just reside in Raleigh. There are people thinking and doing all around the world. Monica Matekenya joined the Wolfpack in 2020 as an NC State Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering student living in Malawi, Africa. She is a graduate student in Dr. Francis de los Reyes’s lab researching anaerobic digestion for potential waste, focusing on risk assessment and performance of anaerobic plants.

Monica has a passion for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) and the environment’s welfare, but she didn’t always know she would take this route in her career. She began her undergraduate studies in social sciences, but found herself pulled in the direction of engineering. What inspired her most was her concern with the state of her home country—she wanted to get involved in hopes of ridding areas of solid waste, where it was frequently dumped. When asked what she is most looking forward to accomplishing with her engineering career, she answered, “I want to get to where I feel like I am best in what I’m doing. I want to help companies come up with plans like manufacturing to handle their waste. I’m graduating at the end of next year, and may end up deciding to get my PhD in the future.”

Besides being a graduate student, Monica is also a civil engineer at Ultimate Engineering Company, where she manages the construction of biogas plants to help farmers gain easy access to energy and cheap manure. With Blantyre City Council and Plan International Malawi, her professional endeavors extend to the construction of roads, bridges, stadiums, markets, schools and sanitation facilities, just to name a few.