“The enchanting ever evolving energy engineering expert;Dr Mtengi”

By:Wandipa Gachala

Dr Bokani Mtengi has vast experience in Energy Engineering, she started her career as a Biomedical engineer for the Ministry of Health before her postgraduate studies. She later served as a Transmission Electron Microscopy Imaging Engineer at Howard University during a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship funded by Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute. Mtengi holds a PhD and MEng in Electrical Engineering from Howard University,Washington DC, the U.S.A and a BEng in Biomedical engineering attained from the University of Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

She is the current chair of the Power Electronics and Energy Systems (PEES) Research group, whose focus is on processing and conversion of electrical energy and storage. She is a lead curriculum developer for the Biomedical Engineering program and Secretary of the Region 8 IEEE Botswana Subsection and Women in Power (WiP) country representative for the Southern region. Mtengi joined the Botswana International University of Science & Technology [BIUST] in October 2018 as a lecturer in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering. She was recently promoted to a senior lecture position within the Department. Her core responsibilities entail teaching; research; postgraduate students’ supervision.

She is adamant about academia, her goal is to be a professor soon. She aspires to lead the Biomedical engineering academic sector and hopes to be part of the inaugural class of degree recipients at BIUST. Mtengi devoted to leveraging the interdisciplinary nature of her field, biomedical-electrical, to generate local solutions for the health care industry by innovating cutting edge diagnostic tools. She noted that she plans to continue being an influential figure for aspiring female engineers and provide mentorship in different professional capacities.

Dr Mtengi highlighted her achievements as first attaining her PhD. She is one of the first three women in Botswana with a Biomedical Engineering degree, Frederick Douglass Fellow at Howard University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, BIUST Fellow,Women in Power (WiP) country representative for the Southern Africa region.In 2019, she was selected to participate in the RECIRCULATE residency program through the University of Lancaster, for innovation capacity and entrepreneurship capability building. It is through the same program that she joined the Women Innovators Network of Africa (WINA) a platform for knowledge exchange, networking, and mentorship for women.

Her passion is driven by the motto,“If you can’t excel with talent, triumph with effort.” She strongly believes in showing up and putting in the effort. Apart from being an academia enthusiast, Mtengi says she enjoys being creative in the kitchen, evening runs, tending to her garden, and reading books Mtengi is an academic advisor to postgraduate students. She is currently co-supervising three PhD students and one MEng Student. She co-sponsored a prize for the best students in the pure (single) sciences at Shoshong Senior Secondary school. She recently joined the BIUST-GEMS (Girls in Mathematics and Science), a mentorship and motivational program for Form 4 female students around Botswana. Through my IEEE Women in Power (WiP) role, I contribute to the discussions on matters related to gender representation in the field,” she said.

In conclusion, Mtengi says she came across a quote back in 2019 when she was preparing for a presentation on Gender disparity in STEM at the University of Lancaster,“If half of the population isn’t contributing to the best ideas, they are not, in fact, the best ideas” – from Today’s Parent Magazine, article titled “Why Girls Need STEM and why STEM needs Girls,” 2018.



Botswana International University of Science & Technology