Ashinaga Scholars: A Day in the Life

December 12, 2017 — It is 7am in Worcester, Massachusetts. Abraham, a freshman AAI Scholar from Rwanda majoring in Industrial Engineering, has started his day to be ready for his class at 8:00. The rest of his day is full of activity, with more classes the rest of the morning and afternoons followed by study periods he has built into his schedule before and after dinner. He also regularly attends MASH (Math and Science Help) for Calculus and Chemistry, facilitated by Teachers’ Assistants (TAs). “By 10pm, I am in my round of ‘flexible studying,’” says Abraham. “I’m still studying, but I’m winding down; I check my messages, maybe watch an MBA game while solving some calculus problems.” He gets to sleep by 12am, never before.

Abraham’s disciplined study schedule and work ethic are paying off- he has maintained exceptional grades throughout the semester. In addition to calculations and lab work, through his Grade Program Seminar (GPS), a course dedicated to freshmen at WPI, he has had the opportunity to apply strategies to a real-world issue. Within his group, Abraham is designing housing for displaced Congolese refugees. Amongst other final submissions, his group will present a physical model of the housing printed through a 3D printer. “Although GPS has been very demanding, it has been the most meaningful class. There is a big payoff,” reflects Abraham.

Abraham’s favorite study break is playing soccer. He is part of the international intramural soccer team at WPI. The team has games a few times a week and friends regularly get together to play on the weekends as well. Soccer was a big part of Abraham’s life growing up in Rwanda, and at the Ashinaga “Juku” in Uganda.  “Soccer makes me feel like life here on campus is not that different from life back in Africa,” says Abraham. “I have these friends from all over the world here at WPI, and we just get together and play. It’s one of my favorite things about WPI.”

Throughout his time at WPI, Abraham plans to get a campus job to build on his experience, and is looking forward to truly begin engaging with his Industrial Engineering major upon completion of his core Sciences. “I hope to take advantage of the many different opportunities, connections, and projects that WPI offers,” says Abraham. Abraham’s ultimate goal after graduating is to become an entrepreneur in Rwanda in Manufacturing or Production, empowering people in his home country to tackle the trade deficit.