Born and raised in Cameroon, Mbah was orphaned at a young age, and depended on his extended family and community for support. As a college student at the University of Buea, he advocated for student rights, and earned a scholarship to Sweden’s University of Agricultural Science to study soil science.
In 2010, he moved to Massachusetts after winning the American Diversity Lottery. Despite his credentials, “the process of finding work and settling down here was challenging,” he says—a sentiment that will be familiar to all immigrants and working people. He took on odd jobs, washing dishes and working as a custodian. Mbah lived out his own immigrant success story. He attained a position in MIT’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety, where he works as a technologist. He moved five separate times—nearly once per year—as skyrocketing rents pushed him and his young family out of apartments. These experiences have inspired him to run for office.