A safety officer with an eye on aeronautics

Girls in aviation Africa has enabled the aeronautical engineering graduate to go to different schools and share her career journey with young girls. Capt Maseka Githinji Keren Wanjiru Kimung’a is an ambitious young lady, who holds a degree in aeronautical engineering from Shenyang Aerospace University. She’s from Kiambu County, and her parents were determined to provide the best education for her and her older brother despite not having much. “They said it was the only thing they could give us that no one can take away,” said Karen. “Aviation was never my first choice, after high school studies. I wanted to pursue pathology, but God had other plans,” she said. After completing high school at Marion Senior School, her mother and aunt wanted her to enrol for a telecommunications engineering course against her wish. She, later on, learnt of Kenya Aeronautical College - sparking her interest in aeronautical engineering. “I am still very amused at the memory of my mother being unable to pronounce aeronautical,” said Karen. She pursued a diploma in aeronautical engineering at Kenya Aeronautical College and an undergraduate degree in the same field at Shenyang Aerospace University in China. She graduated from university despite Covid-19 disruptions and got an opportunity as an intern at a local airline in technical records and quality management. This broadened her scope as she realised how exciting and involving the role was. She later moved to a different company where she started as a quality officer before taking up safety management. RISK MANAGEMENT She is currently the head of safety at the company, responsible for the day-to-day running of the SMS (safety management system), which involves hazard identification, risk management and safety system monitoring. She hopes to grow her knowledge and experience in safety systems, not just in leading international airlines but also in the local ones as well. Her vision is to one day end up at ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) - a specialised agency of the United Nations that changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport. Karen encourages girls to venture into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related careers without fear of discrimination. Under the aegis of Girls in aviation Africa, she has visited different schools to share her career journey with young girls.