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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2018 Awardees 2018 (Hix Preparators' Grant) Rose Nyaboke


Rose became the collections coordinator of fossil vertebrates at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) in Nairobi in 2009, succeeding the very accomplished and efficient Mary Muungu in the position.  Though replacing a popular and effective manager is never an easy task, by all accounts Rose has done very well and become equally as adept at running a large department and its attendant staff.  In addition, she is overseeing the modernization of the database in her unit, as well as moving the collections and research areas to make them more accessible and more readily useful to visiting researchers. This includes a desire to improve conservation standards, techniques, and use of more archival materials in consolidating and cradling fossils in her care.

Anyone visiting the NMK will immediately be impressed by Rose’s attention to their research requirements, her friendliness, and her requests to know as much as possible about the taxa being studied and what can be done with the specimens to better protect them and reveal as much information about them as possible. She is the calm in the center of the reorganization storm, which is also including 3D scanning of as many specimens as possible. She has a firm but easy-going management style and is devoted to the security and conservation of the fossils, which she rightly treats as the national treasure of Kenya.

Her competence and organizational skills derive from her prior training as a biologist and experience as a laboratory technician in a molecular genetics lab—there is little room for error in that sort of job.  I have worked directly with Rose in my own research program at the NMK and it became immediately obvious that she has a good grasp of the entire collections and a great ability to track down even the most obscure record of any fossil in her care.  And the patience of a saint—there are usually researchers from many different countries visiting the NMK and all have competing and lengthy requests for assistance from Rose, yet somehow she manages to make everyone feel as if their request is the most important.

Now, Rose would like to gain additional training and experiences that will help her to move her precious collections into a new phase with a greater emphasis on long-term conservation and archival treatments of fossil specimens. Rose is a good and patient teacher within her own staff, and I believe that she will not only put what she learns to good use directly on the NMK vertebrate collections, but will also help train a large number of others who are engaged in the care of these collections. She is a gracious and highly competent representative of a very important Kenyan institution and would see that the NMK benefits maximally from her opportunities.