Meet Sylvia Adome
“As a child, I watched so much TV,” reminisces Sylvia Adome (she/her/hers). “I was the child that went to sit near the TV thinking I would be closer to the actors.” Growing up in Nairobi, Kenya, she found Hollywood films captivating. Sylvia was the kid who could name every Angelina Jolie movie and recite Jennifer Aniston’s filmography from memory. When she received a scholarship to attend a private boarding school in Kenya’s Kisumu County, she got even more exposure to mainstream American media and began charting the course for her future.
The storylines of the dramas and thrillers she watched gave Sylvia the impression that anything was possible in the realm of imagination. “After being exposed to that, I was inspired to work hard,” she says. Sylvia was soon among her school’s top-ranked students, had her academic accomplishments featured in one of Kenya’s leading national newspapers, and won college scholarships. She chose to study in the United States at the encouragement of her mother.
Sylvia graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla this past December with her degree in economics and theater. She acknowledges that this pairing may seem unconventional, but she knows the skillsets she developed will serve her well. “I decided to pursue theater because I wanted to understand how to access an audience,” explains Sylvia, “and with theater, I met students from different races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
Sylvia has already gained significant firsthand experience in the areas of global economy and management. She participated in a fellowship with Davis Projects for Peace, where she was awarded a grant to start an organization in Busia, Uganda, which borders Kenya. The organization combats child trafficking and provides resources to survivors and their families. Last summer, Sylvia worked as a finance intern for Salama Integrated Fish Farm, also in Uganda, where she was able to learn about farming, tax policies, and international commerce. This internship held a special significance for Sylvia, who comes from a family of business owners in the farming industry.
As the latest team member to join our investment team, Sylvia will serve as an analyst in the internship program. She’ll be based in Walla Walla and looks forward to developing relationships, assisting with research, conducting ongoing due diligence, and supporting special projects. She is also excited to be part of an organization whose commitment to racial justice is demonstrated by the people present in the work, which she noted immediately by the racially diverse group of colleagues who greeted her on screen during her first meeting at Inatai.
She reveals her years adjusting to a predominantly white university while figuring out how to navigate racism in the United States were not easy, but that seeing facets of her identity represented in others makes a big difference in feeling welcome in new spaces. She notes, “As a Black African girl in America, to fully be recognized for my accomplishments is a big deal.”