Uganda Student Profiles

USAP Uganda, which was started in 2006, has consistently had a growing number of applicants each year. Judging from these large numbers, it is evident that the program's popularity is soaring amongst Ugandan high school students. We are continuously increasing student intake through participation in outreach efforts to different areas in Uganda while at the same time seeking ways to improve the running of program. The high number of successful applicants who gain admission to top universities is testament that USAP Uganda strives to aim high, working to achieve the mutual goals of the USAP Global community. We are extremely proud of our students' drive, determination, great achievements and successes, all highlighted by their profiles below.

Hope Mbabazi
Mount Holyoke College '10

Hope Mbabazi Hope Mbabazi (Mubende- Uganda) was raised by her sweet grandmother after the death of her parents. With the help of Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), she was able to attend one of the best secondary schools in Uganda- Mt. St. Mary’s College Namagunga, where she passed with a first grade.

She was the first successful USAP student from Uganda (2006). She is currently a student at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. In her first year, she won a book prize for her excellence in French and this year she received a Laurel Fellowship to study in France 2008-2009, which is a dream come true for her. She is also a recipient of the Andrea and Fred Wilson scholarship Fund at Mount Holyoke College.

Among her other activities, Hope is the intercollegiate representative of the Mount Holyoke African –Caribbean Student Association, a board member of the International Student Orientation Committee, a member of the Youth Action International and the Newman Association. She also tutors Math and English to some Burundi refugee kids in Springfield, MA.

Up to date, Hope cannot believe that she is in the USA because she never though that one day she would be in such a place! She says, "I am where I am today because of the generosity of many people and so I hope that one day I will be in position to donate an awesome amount of money to USAP and FAWE (U) so that more disadvantaged students can access education".

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, she plans to either get a job in the financial sectors or go on to graduate school.

Henry Kaweesi
Cornell University '11

Henry Kaweesi Raised by a single mother in Kampala, Uganda, Henry beat the odds to win admission to the extremely competitive Cornell University in 2007. The first born of three boys, he always wanted to be a Pharmacist when still a boy and despite his mother's low income, he never gave up believing that his dream is in sight. He demonstrated strong ambitions and he was in 2005 elected a student leader at Makerere College School. His performance as a leader at school and as a good student paved way for Henry to apply to USAP and when he was admitted he set his focus on joining Cornell. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He holds a strong conviction to return to Uganda soon after school to help young children who unlike him have never realized the opportunity to realize their dreams and potential.

Laura Turyatemba
Mount Holyoke College '11

Laura Turyatemba Laura Turyatemba ( Rukungiri, Uganda) is in the 2011 class of Mt Holyoke College, where she is actively involved in group support and therapy for the girl child. she is currently a member of the Mount Holyoke African and Caribbean African Students' Association, and is also a sports and health enthusiast. Her intended majors are economics and international relations, with special emphasis on third- world countries. Her dream is to see a reformed and economically stable Africa, and her yardstick for success lies in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: 'To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.'

Anena Joy Odongpiny
Manhattanville College '11

Anena Joy Odongpiny Joy is currently a freshman at Manhattanville College. Her intended major is Biology (Neuroscience concentration) and minor Pre-medicine and French. She is a part of the Duchesne center for Religion and Social Justice, the Christian Students club, and the International Students Organization.

She was born in Kampala, Uganda to the late Rosalind and Denis Odongpiny. She has 1 brother and 5 sisters. For her secondary school education in King’s College Budo and Mt. St. Mary’s Namagunga, she was privileged to be on a scholarship program from the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)–Uganda Chapter. Through FAWE-U, she was introduced to USAP which helped her see that her dreams come true. On the 9th January 2008, she joined Manhattanville College, NY with a full scholarship.

Joy hopes to go to Medical School after college and become a Pediatrician. Her ultimate goal is to specialize in Pediatric Infectious Disease or Neurology and Public Health as a practitioner and lecturer. Joy hopes to be at the fore-front of health and education advocacy and reform in Uganda and the world at large. "Where there is will, there is a way."

Albert Okaba Kertho
University of St. Thomas '11

Albert Okaba Kertho Albert's home town is Masindi in Uganda. From the start of the first semester of his freshman year at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, Albert Kertho has demonstrated outstanding leadership ability and service to the community. He tutored at Lincoln International High School in Minneapolis. He is actively involved in various club activities on campus as well as in other states. Through the VISION club on campus, Albert went on a 3-weeks volunteer trip to Guatemala in January 2008. He is currently an international student ambassador at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Albert intends to major in Biology and minor in geology as well. He plans to study abroad in Australia or New Zealand during his junior year.

The most important achievement for Albert so far has been his going abroad to Guatemala on a volunteer trip during his first semester. Albert plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and geology then proceed to graduate school for further studies in research.
In fact, Albert dreams of becoming one of the world’s best research scientists of his time.

Joanne Kabajungu
College of St. Catherine '11

Joanne Kabajungu Joanne Kabajungu is among the second group of the USAP students that has the privilege to achieve a higher education. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Business at the College of St. Catherine in Saint Paul, Minnesota. At the college, she has been working with perspective international students as the International Admissions Assistant and is an active member of the International Student Organization where she hopes to become its president in her junior year.

After the death of her parents, Joanne was raised by guardians who diligently funded her education in the best schools. She passed with the first grade in Ordinary Level from Mt. St. Mary's Namagunga Secondary School. Although after high school, her guardians could no longer afford the school fees, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) made it possible for Joanne to finish her Advanced Level. She did not have funding to further her education until the USAP program found her in a rural advanced level school in Gulu district, the northern part of Uganda.

Joanne’s dream is to be a part of organizations like USAP that strives to open educational opportunities for financially disadvantaged students with high potential. She also dreams of fighting poverty around the world, especially in her home country.

Zainab Nandawula
Lafayette College '11

Zainab Nandawula Zainab Nandawula from Mukono District in Uganda is currently pursuing a double-undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering/Economics at Lafayette College in PA. After graduating from college (2011), she hopes to go to graduate school for further studies in Chemistry. She is involved in a few other activities on the college campus; volunteer programs, Amnesty International, the International Students Organization and the environmental awareness club. She also plays intramural tennis and is quite involved in the dancing club.

Her focus on Chemical engineering is not only because of her love of the subject but also because of her wish to see her country progress and take risks in new areas of Science; risks that she thinks are the hope for the nation. It is her dream to, one day, be a part of her country's education program as a teaching professor in Chemical engineering, an adviser and guidance counselor.

Zainab says that throughout her academic life, her teachers, advisers, and later on USAP, have been a source of inspiration and have done a wonderful job in steering her in the direction that she is currently pursuing. She hopes that one day, by being a teacher, role model and mentor; she shall equally contribute to her country-mates' education and take part in shaping and inspiring the younger Ugandan generation'.

Rebecca Rwakabukoza
Amherst College '12

Rebecca Rwakabukoza Rebecca Rwakabukoza (Mubende-Uganda) completed her secondary school education in Mt. St. Mary's Namagunga and with the amazing help of USAP attained a full scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts where she is currently an undergraduate student. At Amherst, Becky is a member of Educate!, which is a group of Amherst College students who are trying to make a change in the education system of Uganda. She is also a member of the International Students' Association, African and Caribbean Students Union and Black Students Union.

Becky hopes to major either in Psychology with a premedical course load, or in Biochemistry. She is grateful to all those who have played several important roles, both directly and indirectly, in her education. She says this about her time as a USAP participant in Uganda, "I grew in more ways than just intellectually. I became a better person because of my USAP participation. It is one of those programs that I could call 'enriching'". Becky hopes to give back to such generosity and goodwill, that flows in plenty in her home country and from which she has enormously benefitted.

Leah Eryenyu
Williams College '12

Leah Eryenyu Leah comes from Kaberamaido in Uganda. Third in line in a family of seven girls and orphaned early in life, she has borne the brunt of ostracism as a consequence of her sex. She believes however, that this sore spot is part of the building blocks that enhanced the woman that she has become. She has had a taste of both the exquisite and the bitter and neither daunts her.

Leah is a prospective political science major at Williams. She intends to study law in Graduate school, which will be the consummation of a much-cherished dream. She currently works in the public affairs department at Williams. She takes pride in this because it recruits only the best four writers in each class. She is a member of the Model United Nations, a body that apes the global union for which she hopes to work some day. She is also a member of Speak Free, an alliance that encourages freedom of speech through poetry.

Her gratitude to USAP is abysmal. She hopes to offer the lifeline that USAP gave her to other Ugandans. She intends to set up an orphanage to cater for girls because she feels the plight of the African girl child. Her greatest gratitude however goes to her father, who blazed the path clear for her and sowed the seeds that would morph into dreams that she now holds and someday, she believes, will be manifest in concrete.

Latifah Kiribedda
College of Saint Catherine '12

Latifah Kiribedda Latifah is from Kampala district in Uganda. She completed her secondary education in Nabisunsa Girls' School. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the college, Latifah is involved in a number of activities; She was elected First Year Representative on the student senate and is also a member of the diversity committee on the senate. Latifah is a strong advocate for fighting racial discrimination as a way of ensuring equality among all the students on the St. Kate's campus. She coordinates community events for Amnesty International, a human rights organization that advocates for peace and respect of human rights.

Latifah is an active member of Volunteers in Action, International Students Association, and Women of Color and is also the Public Relations officer of the Muslim Students Association. She loves getting involved in campus activities and clubs because she learns and shares ideas with other students, giving her a complete international perspective. Most of all, she believes that in order to make a difference in the world, she has to make the first step by creating a difference in the lives of people in her community.

Latifah is very grateful to USAP for giving her this opportunity to fully exploit her potential. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health upon graduation. She is very inspired and looks forward to returning to Uganda in order to influence public policy in the health sector, advocate for gender equality, and to increase education opportunities for the girl child especially in war torn areas.

Melody Byanyima
University of St. Thomas '12

Melody Byanyima Melody Byanyima (Isingiro, Uganda) is in the 2012 class of University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in International Business and Human Resource Management.

Currently, she is involved in a club called ANSA (African Nations' Student's Association) which brings together students representing different African countries.

Her dream is to achieve quality education that can be helpful to her home country Uganda. Her goal is to use her education to reach out to the disadvantaged people in society especially those afflicted by AIDS and the poor.

Melody extends a special thanks to USAP for giving her the opportunity to achieve her dream of attaining higher education and is also greatful to her family and friends for their love and support.

Samuel Kitara
College of Wooster '14

Samuel KitaraA native of Agago, Northern Uganda, Kitara is currently a Research Intern in the Department of Pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School. He analyzes the genetics of bacterial resistance in pediatric pulmonary infections. Prior to this, he was an American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellow.

At the College of Wooster, Kitara loves inter-cultural exchange programs. He is currently President of the African Student's Union and a Peer Mentor. He was formerly a Student Ambassador for Uganda and the Secretary for the International Students Association. He speaks very fondly of the time spent out in the Wooster community educating elementary school children about Acholi music and dance and Ugandan culture in general. In his free time, Kitara watches and plays basketball, football and dance.

Kitara is very passionate about medicine/ biomedical research, health equity and entrepreneurship. He hopes to someday take a lead role addressing the disparities in healthcare and providing opportunities for the development of young innovators and researchers in science/ technology, especially in the developing world. He has interned and volunteered with global health organizations such as Save the Children International and Unite for Sight, and entrepreneurship organizations such as Educate! Africa.

"I draw my inspiration from the every-day man or woman who manages to create simple opportunities out of nothing, from people who choose to dream beyond their situations in life and make their communities a better place."

Kato Gerard
Massachusetts Institute of Technology '14

Kato Gerard Gerard comes from Rukungiri district in the Western part of Uganda. He studied at Uganda Martyrs' Secondary School Namugongo and is highly interested in Engineering and Mathematics. Gerard will be studying as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and hopes to do electrical engineering and computer science. He didn't really believe that he could really get into one of the best colleges in the world. He is interested in discovering an efficient form of energy that is cheap so that all people in the world will have access to cheap electricity. He hopes to provide an opportunity for those that do not have any to achieve their goals.

He is so grateful to the USAP and all the people that helped him create a strong platform for him to achieve his dream and most importantly for the values he has got from this program and hopes to share a great deal of his life and resources for charity.

George Kakuru
Pepperdine University '14

George Kakuru George Kakuru did both his Ordinary Levels and Adavnced Levels at Uganda Martyrs' Secondary School Namugongo in Uganda. He is currently attending Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He is majoring in the 3-2 Engineering Program and plans to become an Electrical Engineer. George believes most of the world problems can be solved by Engineers and this is why he is undertaking Engineering. George plans to go back to Uganda after completing his education.

George is truly grateful to the USAP team in Uganda headed by Kimberly Cordell. He also thanks Connie Mutazindwa and John Dunne plus all the employees at the US Embassy for all of their help during the application process. He also thanks his parents for raising him and educating him.

George Lwanga Katumba
University of Kansas '15

George Lwanga KatumbaGeorge was born to Dr. Jeremiah Ssali Lwanga and Mrs. Agnes Lwanga of Wakiso, Uganda. He is the last born of six children in the family. He joined Budo Junior School in 1998 where he sat for his Primary Leaving Examinations before joining King's College, Budo for his secondary education.

While at Budo, he took up various leadership roles, among which he was the head prefect of the junior school in 2004 and he held the same responsibility at King's College in 2010. He was also a member of a number of clubs such as Help Our Poor and Elderly (H.O.P.E), the Students School Council and he played sports such as soccer, cricket and baseball.

He is currently pursuing his undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas on a full scholarship. He intends to major in Biochemistry before joining a medical school for his graduate studies where he will focus on gynecology. He hopes to use his knowledge to carry out research on the various problems that are affecting the sexual health of women all over the world so that he can contribute to developing concrete solutions to these problems.

"No goal is too far to reach if we devote our faculties to it." - George Katumba

Isaac Wakiro
College of Saint Scholastica '16

Isaac WakiroBorn and raised in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, not even the hurdles before him could extinguish his curiosity nor derail him from his childhood dream of becoming a medical doctor.

He first exhibited his academic prowess when, besides being challenged by the local language that was being used at school, the long journey to and from school and sometimes going without food, he consistently ranked at the top of his class while at Pato Primary School in Sironko district. From there, he transferred to Kisugu c/u Primary school where besides his excellent academic record, he served as a school prefect. Isaac then joined St. Augustine's College in Wakiso for his much anticipated secondary school life. Here, he ranked at the top of his class for four consecutive years and finally scored all distinctions in the ten subjects he had concentrated in at the National examinations. He then joined King's College – Budo for his advanced level in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics declining a full scholarship he had been awarded at his former school. It is worth noting that besides his academic success, he thrived as an active member of the Uganda Red Cross Society, the Catholic committee, the HOPE and Anti-AIDS clubs at King's College, and mobiliser of the French and Math clubs before moving on to becoming the Vice President of the Math Club and school prefect.

Isaac has been an intern at Mulago Hospital, Department of Surgery and a co-investigator on comparative genetic analysis on central nervous system tumors at Makerere University, School of Medicine's Department of Pathology. After visiting the Uganda Cancer Institute and learning of the dangers chemotherapy posses on the already weakened victims, he believes there can be an alternative to it.

Shem Kikamaze
University of Denver '16

Shem KikamazeShem is majoring in Electrical Engineering at the University of Denver after receiving a full ride scholarship. He is very interested in engineering because he is hugely innovative and a great problem-solver. He believes that he will achieve his dream of making the world a better place by being at the fore front of cutting-edge technology innovations at college.

He studied at Ndejje Senior Secondary School for both his ordinary levels and his Advanced levels. While at Ndejje, he was the class valedictorian and won multiple bursaries that helped him with the school fees. He was coordinating the red-cross outreach programs while at school and hopes to continue with the same spirit by joining the American Peace Corps at college. He hopes to come back to his country to setup technical institutes and also tackle the power shortage problems.

He is greatly inspired by Romans 8:37 which quotes as "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

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