Michel Mugisha

Age: 24

Education: Bellevue College, Associate in Science Track II: Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2018

Major: Electrical Engineering with Computer Engineering Specialization, 2020

Service:

  • Social Media Officer, African Student Association, Bellevue College, 2016–2018

  • Social Media Officer, Black Student Union, Bellevue College, 2017–2018

  • Math Tutor, Academic Success Center, Bellevue College, 2016–2018

  • Support Staff, Governance, Bellevue College, 2017–2018

  • Pals/Front Desk Coordinator, Student Programs, Bellevue College, 2016–2018

  • Volunteered at the Science Saturday, Science and Math Institute, Bellevue College, 2016–2017

  • Volunteered at Peer to Peer, Bellevue College, 2015–2018

Awards/Honors:

  • Costco Student of Diversity Scholarship recipient, Bellevue College, 2016–2017

  • Habib STEM Scholarship recipient, Bellevue College, 2017–2018

  • The Diane Harrison MCS Student Excellence Award, Bellevue College, 2018

  • Alfie Scholars Program, Third Cohort, Seattle University, 2018–2020

  • Bannan Scholars Enrichment Program, Seattle University, 2018–2020

  • Messina Scholarship, Seattle University, 2018–2019

Goal: My goal is to become a software engineer and work on big projects with innovating companies or design new technology from scratch that will positively impact human lives.

Civility Statement: Civility is present when we treat each other with kindness, respect, and last with love. Civility is the foundation of democracy. In addition, civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. It is political in the sense that it is a prerequisite for civic action. But it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same.

Autobiography:

I moved to the USA when I was twenty years old from Goma DR Congo where I was born. When I was 18 I graduated from high school, and my original plan was to attend college and learn more about electronics and their application in real world. After high school, I didn’t go straight to college like other kids in my country; instead with the advice of my father I did a professional training in a networking academy called Cisco to maximize my chances of getting a job in the country. I hated it because I had plans with my high school friends to go to college and have study groups like we use to in high school. It was hard seeing your friends attending college, and I was the only one doing a professional training with older people than I. Unlike some of my friends who would give up or wouldn’t work hard when things don’t go their way, I took the opportunity, studied and worked hard during almost two years of professional training. The training helped me to get an internship at the Bank of Africa (BOA) in Kinshasa in the Information Technology department, where I did two months of training and then was offered a contract. I learned a lot from the training and internship on how we communicate via internet and share data. I realized that the equipment was composed of electronics so I wanted to build them from scratch.

While doing the professional training, I applied for the Diversity Visa to come and live in the USA where all people dream of coming to. I was accepted and received a visa to enter the USA in 2014. I came to the USA to live here; then after living in Seattle for a year, I decided to go back to school for a better life and to beat the odds. I enrolled in fall 2015 to Bellevue college and started taking classes to further my career in electrical engineering. Being a first-generation student in college, I found it was hard because there were a lot that I didn’t know about to the point I did an entire academic year not knowing what classes I needed for my major; however, I did my best to finish my two first years of college in three.

The biggest challenge that I had to overcome was the culture shock; because English is not my first language, I didn’t understand a lot of what people around me were saying. When I speak, I have an accent, so people also did not understand me well. It took me almost two years of living in the US to understand some things. Joining Student Programs helped me to meet friends and mentors who understood the challenges that I was going through. I met students with the same background and culture as I, and together we became family.

Advice:

Years ago, I didn’t know what path I would take to achieve my goal; however, I took one step at a time and wasn’t worried about anything only until it was the appropriate time. Having that state of mind helped me to achieve a lot in my journey. A word to anyone who relates will be to keep their head up and work hard to reach the end of the tunnel where the light is bright.

Being an Alfie:

Being an Alfie is very important to because they made it possible for me to attend Seattle University, and I have nine other peers that I am proud to call family.