First Ever MESH Scholarship Awarded

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USD Master’s Degree in Engineering, Sustainability and Health & Paragon Institute of Innovation Award  First Ever Scholarship to a Kenyan Student

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — In April this year, the University of San Diego (USD) announced their new Master of Science in Engineering, Sustainability and Health (MESH) degree program.

In keeping with the values of MESH, Academic Director Dr. Caroline Baillie decided that there would need to be a specific fund developed to ensure equity of access, so parallel with the program’s launch, the MESH team developed the “Women imagine the Future fund.”

  “We see it [the fund] as a way to bring the brilliance of women from different cultures and ways of knowing to the table – only together will we solve our global interconnected problems.”

Dr. Caroline Baillie

The fund focuses on women from low-income countries, who, without this funding, would not be able to benefit from the program and bring their ideas and creativity together with others across the globe to co-create solutions for our future. 

Paragon Institute of Innovation, along with USD and USD’s Professional and Continuing Education programs, awarded a full scholarship to Lilian Maruti, a construction engineer in Kenya. Many inspiring women candidates applied from many countries and went through a rigorous online application and zoom interview process. 

Lilian Maruti, Construction engineer, winner of the MESH scholarship

Lilian Maruti has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and was one of two finalists called to a final interview. Currently, she works as a Civil Engineer at Ditco Engineering Construction Company, where her key role is direct construction operation activities; specifically, providing technical guidance and advice for project implementation. She determines the best practices and methodologies to use in these vast construction projects.

Lilian is the perfect candidate for MESH,” said Dr. Caroline Baille, Co-Academic Director of MESH, “she seeks to become a leader for sustainability and health in her country with projects  in mind that she can work on during and after the MESH program.” 

Maruti shared, “this is a dream come true. This is an amazing opportunity for me to learn, adopt and incorporate transdisciplinary sustainable practices. The lessons drawn from this USD program would help me influence construction practices in Kenya with a focus on ensuring environmental preservation, improving standards of living as well as guaranteeing the highest standards of environmental and human health in my country. I am honored.”

The global need to address rapidly increasing problems in health, justice and climate change, has brought significant career opportunities in sustainability and public health. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that two of the top three fastest growing occupations from 2019 to 2020 were green jobs. In fact, seven out of the ten fastest-growing occupations concerned areas related to sustainability or health. The MESH degree was designed by engineering, health, environmental scientists, sociology and ecology experts from multiple sectors, to offer a unique curriculum for individuals looking to be change-makers, innovators, and disruptors from all disciplines and backgrounds.

In addition, Paragon Institute of Innovation also provided $1,000 scholarships that were awarded to the first 10 to enroll in the new USD MESH program. 

With a class format that is 100% online, the program targets busy professionals who want to earn their MESH degree while balancing the demands of work and family life from anywhere in the county and in the end, the world. It takes approximately 20 months (5 semesters) to complete and is now accepting applications for the term starting September 6. The deadline to enroll for the Fall semester for the MESH program is August 1.


The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD’s Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.

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