Freshman wanders world, chooses Waco

By Amanda Thomas

From Illinois to Kenya. From Kenya to Baylor.

Freshman Joy Poghisio knows all about branching out.

Poghisio grew up in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, the country where her father, Samuel Poghisio, serves as the minister of information and technology and communications.

Born in Lincoln, Ill., Poghisio moved to Kenya as a baby. Raised there, she considers Kenya her home but decided to attend college in the United States after her high school graduation. Poghisio said she wanted a new experience.

“I really wanted to leave and go to a school in the states,” Poghisio said. “I wanted to go a school that was not in Kenya.”

Since her father was familiar with California, Poghisio decided to take classes at Saddleback Community College in Southern California.

During a trip to Kenya last year, however, some Baylor students were given the opportunity to meet Poghisio’s father. He was so impressed with the students and the school that he encouraged his daughter to apply.

“My dad came to visit me on his way to visit Baylor and told me about the college,” Poghisio said. “I looked it up and decided to apply.”

Once here, Poghisio was paired with a “Welcome Family” — a Baylor program that encourages international students to build friendships with families in Waco.

“I really like my Welcome Family,” Poghisio said. “Every once in a while, we will get together and they will take me out to dinner or to a game.”

It was her passion for travel that brought Poghisio to Baylor. This world traveler who has witnessed the beauty of Dubai and hopes to see Australia chose a college somewhere patently less exotic.

“I love to travel,” Poghisio said. “That is one of the reasons I wanted to come to Baylor. It’s in Texas, and I [had] never been to Texas.”

It’s not all foreign, though. Some Baylor programs have given Poghisio the opportunity to connect with other Kenyan students.

Spring sophomore Audrey Aringo is one of Poghisio’s new friends.

“[Joy] always focuses on the positive things that are happening,” Aringo said. “It’s one of the things I admire most about her — the ability to see the good in people.”

Plano sophomore Diana Godana met Poghisio through a Kenyan graduate student.

Godana had lived in Nairobi for six years but she and Poghisio never crossed paths.

“What I admire the most about Joy is the fact that she is so content with herself. Coming from our Kenyan culture, where community thoughts tend to influence people, she has managed to live her life by her terms,” Godana said.

Poghisio is unsure of her future plans but knows she would like to travel and help people — but not through politics.

“I would not willingly get into politics,” Poghisio said. “My father and I are rather different in that respect. I think I would rather serve the country another way.”

For now, Poghisio is content but for one thing.

“Baylor is a great school, and Texas is a great place,” Poghisio said. “Well, I guess I will have to say that when I get used to the weather.”