April 26, 2022: Dr. Habiba Chirchir, an associate professor of biological sciences at Marshall University, has been named the 27th John Deaver Drinko Distinguished Fellow.

The announcement of her appointment was made by executive director Dr. Montserrat Miller during the annual Drinko Symposium in the Memorial Student Center Saturday, April 23.

“Professor Chirchir carries a full course load at Marshall while publishing in high profile academic journals and engaging in impressive education outreach efforts,” Miller said.

“She did extraordinary work during the pandemic in coordinating the transition of all Marshall’s Human Anatomy teaching labs to the online platform. She has authored twelve peer-reviewed publications since 2016 and her most recent scholarly article, appearing in the Royal Society Open Science journal, was covered in Science News. Habiba is uniquely poised to attract international visibility for Marshall University.”

Her nominator, Dr. F. Robin O’Keefe, described her as “one of the best young paleoanthropologists in the field.”

In addition to serving as a Marshall faculty member, Chirchir is a research associate in the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Among the four external research awards she has obtained since 2020 is a highly prestigious Leakey Foundation grant.

Dr. Chirchir, who was born and brought up in Emining, Baringo County, has developed initiatives to improve the quality of anatomy education for schoolchildren. In 2018 and 2019, she conducted training in evolutionary biology for rural Kenyan secondary school teachers.

More recently, she worked with colleague Dr. Suzanne Straight to secure a $50,000 grant from the American Association for Anatomy to provide advanced anatomical modalities to West Virginia high school teachers.

Dr. Chirchir says she is honored to have been selected as a fellow.

“It is a distinct privilege and honor to be named the 27th fellow of the Drinko Academy, “Chirchir said. “With this award comes an expectation that I will contribute at a high level in all my responsibilities at Marshall – teaching, research and outreach activities. I will endeavor to meet and exceed these expectations.”

Distinguished Drinko Fellows receive a stipend, re-assigned time from teaching, and other financial and clerical support for two academic years to undertake research, special projects or other scholarly pursuits.

Dr Chirchir attended Mogotio Primary School then proceeded to Kapropita Girls’ High School before joining University of Nairobi to study Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology.

Adapted from Marshall University Website marshall.edu

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