Patricia Kingori is a remarkable woman who has achieved a historic feat: she is the youngest Black woman to receive tenure at Oxford University, one of the most prestigious and oldest academic institutions in the world. She is also one of the youngest women to ever be awarded a full professorship in Oxford’s 925-year history. In this blog post, we will explore her inspiring journey, her groundbreaking research and her impact on academia and beyond.
From Kenya to Oxford: A Trailblazer’s Story
Patricia Kingori was born in Kenya to a Kenyan father and a Caribbean mother. She spent her childhood in Saint Kitts, a small island nation in the Caribbean, where she developed a curiosity and passion for learning about different cultures and perspectives. She moved to London with her family when she was a teenager, and faced many challenges as an immigrant and a person of color in a predominantly white society.
She did not let these obstacles stop her from pursuing her academic dreams. She obtained her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from London University, where she studied sociology of science and medicine, bioethics, misinformation and pseudoscience. She received a studentship to fund her PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she conducted critical examinations of ethics in practice in various countries, such as South Africa and South East Asia.
She gave birth to her first child while doing her PhD, and faced another crisis when she had to flee from civil unrest in Kenya, where she was doing fieldwork for her research. She returned to the UK with her second child, leaving behind friends and colleagues in danger. She said: “I left friends and colleagues behind, not sure whether they were going to be OK.”
Despite these hardships, she completed her PhD and joined Oxford University in 2013 as a lecturer at the Ethox Centre and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities. She quickly rose through the ranks, becoming an associate professor in 2017 and a full professor in 2021. She is currently the recipient of a highly prestigious Wellcome Senior Investigator award and leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers exploring global concerns around Fakes, Fabrications and Falsehoods in the 21st Century.
A Sociologist with a Global Impact
Patricia Kingori is a sociologist who studies the everyday ethical experiences of frontline workers in a global scope. She is interested in how people navigate complex moral dilemmas in their work, such as health professionals, researchers, journalists and activists. She investigates how they cope with pressures, uncertainties, conflicts and contradictions that arise from their roles and responsibilities.
She has conducted research on topics such as:
- The ethics of clinical trials in low- and middle-income countries
- The politics of evidence and expertise in global health
- The production and circulation of fake medicines and vaccines
- The role of whistleblowers and undercover reporters in exposing corruption and fraud
- The impact of misinformation and disinformation on public trust and behavior
She has published numerous articles, books and reports based on her research, which have been widely cited and influential in academia and beyond. She has also advised multiple organizations on ethical issues, such as the World Health Organization, Save the Children, Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Obama administration White House Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment for Africa Initiative.
She is also a passionate teacher and mentor, who has supervised many PhD students and taught hundreds of students at Oxford. She is known for her innovative and engaging teaching methods, such as using role-play scenarios, interactive games and multimedia materials to stimulate critical thinking and discussion among her students.
A Woman of Firsts, a Woman of Inspiration
Patricia Kingori is a woman of firsts: she is the first Black woman to receive tenure at Oxford University; she is the first Kenyan-born academic to become a full professor at Oxford; she is the first sociologist to lead a Wellcome Senior Investigator award; she is one of the first trustees of the Medical Research Foundation; she is one of the first women to receive a full professorship at Oxford at such a young age (she is reportedly 28 years old according to some sources, or in her early 40s according to others).
She is also a woman of inspiration: she is an inspiration to many people who face discrimination, marginalization or adversity because of their race, gender, nationality or background; she is an inspiration to many people who aspire to pursue academic excellence and social impact; she is an inspiration to many people who want to make a difference in the world through ethical research and practice.
She has received many accolades and recognition for her achievements, such as being featured on BBC News Pidgin, Quartz Africa, Black Enterprise and The Black EOE Journal. She has also received many messages of congratulations and admiration from her colleagues, students and peers. She said: “To have my body of work recognized in this way is a great honor, and I am deeply grateful to the many people who have inspired and supported me so far.”
Patricia Kingori is a remarkable woman who has achieved a historic feat. She is the youngest Black woman to receive tenure at Oxford University, one of the most prestigious and oldest academic institutions in the world. She is also one of the youngest women to ever be awarded a full professorship in Oxford’s 925-year history. She is a trailblazer, a leader, a scholar, a teacher, a mentor, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend. She is Patricia Kingori.
: Patricia Kingori: Kenyan woman be youngest black professor for Oxford University history – BBC News Pidgin
: Patricia Kingori becomes youngest Black woman with tenure at Oxford
: Oxford’s youngest-ever Black female professor was born in Kenya – Quartz
: Patricia Kingori, 28, Becomes Youngest Black Woman to Receive Tenure at Oxford University
: The youngest Black female professor ever to be tenured at Oxford was born in Kenya