Vincent Kandagor has big plans to make his education a success for his homeland. "My goal is to get my doctorate, live in the United States for a few years and then move back to Kenya and change the lives of the people there for the better. There are opportunities there that need to be explored, opportunities that can make life better for the people in my country."
Kandagor came to Missouri State in fall 2004. "Back in Kenya, I had friends and relatives who came to the Missouri State," he said. "They talked about the international student presence on campus and how good and affordable a school it was, so they convinced me to go."
Even though he is a long way from home, he has never regretted coming to Missouri State. "There were so many great things [about Missouri State], but the curriculum of the physics, astronomy and materials science department was the best, and they had some of the best professors. The overall student community was also a great environment where you could study and have a good time."
Kandagor was very involved in the student community while he was at Missouri State. He was involved with African Students United and he was the Vice President of the Physics Student Society. In both organizations, he was a part of helping other students get involved on campus and helping them discover what they wanted to do after graduation.
He now highly recommends Missouri State for international students. "I've been to other colleges in other places. They're too busy, too fast and no one seems to care about you. At Missouri State, people care about you."
After finishing his accelerated master's degree, he was offered a job by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a company he had an internship with before he graduated.
Kandagor has a son named Spencer. He lives in Tennessee where he is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of Tennessee. "Having the responsibilities of family, work and school has been a good thing for me. I've been able to stay busy, become more organized and spend time with my son, all while being a graduate student. A lot of people don't think anyone can do that, but with effort and dedication, you can do it."