Interview With Visiting Scholar Sylvester Hayker

by | June 3, 2019

CSUD intern Hava Chishti sat down with Sylvester Hayker to write a profile about him and his experience researching in Nairobi and New York. See the profile below.


Coming from Nairobi, Kenya, visiting scholar Sylvester Hayker works as an assistant lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Studies. Sylvester is a tall man with great curiosity and admirable focus towards his work. His responsibilities in Nairobi include teaching and occasional administrative work as the exam coordinator. He is passionate about his work, but teaching and researching transportation has not always been his main interest. 

When asked what he was doing before his job at the Technical University of Kenya, Sylvester laughed quietly and sat back in his chair as he explained that he was a fitness trainer before getting into teaching. His interest in fitness is still a prominent part of his life and has led him to his particular passion for maintaining healthy living through transport. “I have an interest in active transport – especially with children,” Sylvester says. “When we encourage children to be active, there is a likelihood that they can carry this over to being an adult and sustain an active livelihood.” 

In fact, Sylvester is in New York visiting the center because of his research on non-motorized transport and its impact on children. As part of this research fellowship, Sylvester is working with Jacqueline Klopp, research scholar/co-director, on studying the effect that active leisure traveling has on children’s physical activity in Nairobi, Kenya. With a particular focus on pedestrian and cycling facilities, Sylvester is studying the correlation between active and healthy children and well-designed green spaces. He is researching the ways that successful street designs, which promote pedestrian and cycling facilities, can be implemented in Kenya to have a positive impact on the livelihood of children.  

While discussing the various aspects of his trip, Sylvester explains that,“on this trip, apart from collaborating with Professor Jackie on coming up with a general paper, I am also taking the opportunity to survey- looking at the best practices in terms of land transport.” He grins as he talks about the new things he’s observed and the events he has attended. “I think I am lucky that I came at a time when New York has so many events being hosted by various organizations,” he says. “I attended one where they were talking about architecture, respecting nature, and infusing nature into architectural work… this is very important.” 

As he reflects on his time at CSUD, Sylvester mentions that “the center is vital in trying to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals… The focus of this center is commendable in trying to contribute to the sustainable goals by the year 2030.” The center thanks the Volvo Research and Education Foundation for funding this exchange, and Sylvester also shares his gratitude for Professor Klopp and the center for hosting him. “It is a great opportunity to look at the world from a different perspective,” he adds. “I appreciate the fact that the center supported an upcoming researcher and scholar like me.” 



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