Ashinaga Scholars 2016: A Day in the Life 2

January 31, 2018 —Tsion was at work when she received the email. It was the spring before her freshman year and Tsion had recently returned to her hometown of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after spending six months in Uganda attending Ashinaga’s Study Camp. She had worked on her applications for months in Uganda, and was now waiting on decisions. So, when she read the email saying that an envelope had arrived from SUNY Plattsburgh, she was excited, but did not know whether it was good news or bad news.

Her dad picked up the envelope and brought it to Tsion. They opened the envelope together, read that she had been accepted, and saw pictures of campus. In common parent fashion, her dad was even more excited than she was.

Just over one semester in, Tsion is thriving at SUNY Plattsburgh. She has made good friends, enjoys the University’s staff members, and appreciates the diversity on campus. She is proud of how she has adapted to the new environment, both in and out of the classroom. As an aspiring Biomedical Sciences major, her days are full: A typical day starts at 7:30am and includes classes and labs, which can run past 5pm. She often ends the day in the library studying, sometimes until midnight.

Over the next 3.5 years, Tsion hopes to hone her lab skills, which will help her get a job in one of her areas of interest: medical technology. She plans for her Ashinaga Proposal — a four-year research project required of all Ashinaga students — to be an exploration of teen pregnancy in Ethiopia. Tsion has seen too many teen mothers suffer from societal stigma, a lack of access to education, and exclusion from consideration for good jobs. She wants to create a remedy: an NGO that takes in teenage pregnant women and offers child care, self-defense classes, education, and job-skill training.

Clearly, Tsion has much to be proud of already, and Ashinaga is grateful to be alongside her.