“The people on campus were also very friendly and always willing to lend a hand. The school was also a great size; small enough to not feel isolated and big enough to have your own space when you need it.”
Major: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
Sigma Alpha Lambda, Society of Women Engineers (SWE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Undergraduate Research Award Scholar, Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) affiliate, Immune Mechanism & Modulation Engineering (IMME) Lab, DoIT support
Why did you choose UMBC?
I had just come from Kenya when I started applying to colleges in Spring 2014. My mom, having been in the US longer and having experience with college education both in and out of the US was guiding me during my application process. At the time, she was just completing completing her masters in IT at UMBC. I would often come to UMBC with her and just explore the campus and was in owe of how much it catered to all kinds of students. I also did my own research on the school and learned that it had very strong STEM programs, which my mom always sang about. I also learned that it ranked among the top undergraduate schools in the US, ranking even higher than most Ivy League schools. The people on campus were also very friendly and always willing to lend a hand. The school was also a great size; small enough to not feel isolated and big enough to have your own space when you need it. As a foreign student at the time, this was perfect for me.
What do you love about UMBC?
I love UMBC’s diversity and its efforts to always be inclusive to people from all backgrounds. Until I started working at the DoIT this Fall, I don’t think I truly appreciated this aspect of UMBC. One of my bosses, Jack Malone, personally created a system for students with a hearing impairment to use during lectures. This specifically caters to the students so that they don’t have to strain and also so that the interpreter has an easier time communicating with the students. I love the student organizations on campus. They provide a safe haven where students can bond over their shared interests
What would you say to a prospective student?
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ― Isaac Asimov. Be open-minded and willing to learn from every and anyone.
What has been your favorite class at UMBC?
My favorite class at UMBC would definitely have to be Organic Chemistry II. Dr. Tiffany Gierasch always executed her lectures in a way that was geared more towards learning and applying Chemistry concepts to the real world, which I always found fascinating. For example, one time we were learning about aromaticity and why different compounds would prefer to be aromatic. She showed us a structure and asked us to determine whether or not it was aromatic and why it would want to be aromatic. We figured out the structure would be aromatic but couldn’t really think of why. Little did we know that this structure was actually a pyrimidine; one of the nucleotide bases found in DNA. When she explained it, it put into perspective why this class was important and why it was crucial to not just memorize the material, but understand how to think critically and apply these concepts to the real world.
What do you hope to achieve after you complete your degree at UMBC?
My goal is to attend graduate school after completing my degree at UMBC. I also intend to travel to Europe and South Africa either before or after joining graduate school.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I speak 4 languages 🙂