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Nelly Cheboi

CNN Hero Cheboi '16 to speak Jan. 11, and at commencement

CNN Hero Nelly Cheboi '16 will share her leadership journey in a mini-lecture at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, on campus. The college also has announced that Cheboi will deliver the address at the 163rd Commencement Convocation on May 27.

The public is invited to attend the event at the Murabito Family Commons, located on the first floor of the Peter J. Lindberg, M.D. Center, 3501 7th Ave., Rock Island.

Cheboi was named the CNN Hero of the Year at a ceremony in New York on Dec. 11. She accepted the top honor on stage with her mother, Christine, at the CNN Heroes gala. 

Cheboi received $100,000 to expand her work with TechLit Africa, the nonprofit she co-founded that redistributes recycled computers in schools in rural Kenya. Additionally, she was named an Elevate Prize Foundation winner, which comes with a $300,000 grant and additional support worth $200,000 for her nonprofit. 

A native of Mogotio, Kenya, Cheboi attended Augustana on a full scholarship and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and computer science. As a junior, in 2015, Cheboi took the funds she earned from working campus jobs and built a school, Zawadi, in Kenya. The school is now four stories, serving about 300 students on the first floor. It is also the headquarters for TechLit Africa, with room for a literacy center and vocational classes for the community of Mogotio.

In addition to running TechLit Africa, Cheboi is a software engineer at Fuzzy, a California-based company focused on pet health care. She was honored as a social impact leader in Forbes magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list for 2022.


Nicole Lauer, 309-794-7645 or 630-796-9007

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