Hometown: Kigali, Rwanda
Major: Integrated Science, Agronomy and Horticulture Minors
Anticipated Date of Graduation: May 2023
Why did you decide to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I decided to come to the University of Nebraska Lincoln because of two main reasons. I had a passion to pursue a career in agriculture, and I chose UNL because it is a reputable university (among the Big Ten Academic Alliance Member Universities). Being driven by a strong desire to make a difference in Rwanda's agriculture sector, UNL attracted my attention as the best institution for me to attend, learn from and explore numerous opportunities as an international student. Also, being part of CASNR where the best teachers, instructors and researchers in the nation call home is something that pushed me to decide to come to UNL.
What is your favorite thing about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
My favorite thing about UNL is the community in general. People are welcoming, understanding and considerate. It would normally be sometimes hard and stressful to be part of a diverse community such as UNL because of differences in cultures, beliefs and backgrounds, but I am thankful that it is the other way around. No matter where you come from, you will find the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as your other home. Apart from that, during leisure time, the recreation center is one of my favorite places. It is the perfect place for me to do sports, refresh my mind and get relaxed.
How has diversity and inclusive excellence played a role in your CASNR experience?
As I mentioned earlier, UNL is a welcoming community. The university believes in fully embracing diversity in all forms and making inclusion a top priority. As an individual, this has impacted me in several ways. I am part of several organizations on campus including Ambassador program, UNL Navigators, and Honors Program. I have an active role in all of the above involvements, and I have always felt included and welcomed regardless of my race, ethnicity, gender or background. One thing to point out is that diversity and inclusive excellence is an ongoing process. It is something that requires a collaborative effort to make sure every individual is contributing to the community in one way or another to attain that excellence.
What is your favorite class you have taken so far and why?
My favorite class so far is plant science. My plant science professor, Donald J. Lee was the best. He taught me the class very well and triggered my interest in exploring more about plants. I also liked it because of the welcoming environment in class that helped me learn a great deal and succeed in the course, especially because It was my first semester at UNL.
What are your plans for post-graduation?
Since I define myself as a life-long learner, I plan to pursue a graduate degree upon graduating with my undergraduate degree. After that, my plan is to go back to Rwanda and apply the skills and knowledge that I have acquired here at UNL to make a difference in the ag sector. My interest is in agronomy and horticulture. I've always had a desire to explore more about farming and agriculture. I believe that I will graduate with the necessary skills to impact my motherland, Rwanda.
What's life like outside of school?
This is a good question! Life after school keeps changing for me. I always push myself to be out of my comfort zone because it is when I get to grow the most. I have several involvements on campus as of now. As CASNR Ambassador, I represent the college at recruitment and welcome events to help prospective students and their parents get the feel of East Campus through tours of the beautiful buildings. This has strongly impacted my communication skills in a way that I could not have predicted. Apart from that, I have teaching and mentoring experience. I am a Teaching Assistant (TA) in plant science class, and I have enjoyed this opportunity since last fall 2020. I'm also an off-site eMentor for the STEMentors program.
Entrepreneurship is one of my greatest passions, so I am involved in StartupsUNL, where I am constantly challenged to be more creative, innovative, and to think out of the box. As part of my entrepreneurship ventures, I, Shema Yahya, and Mathew Sankara pioneered the most fun card game you will probably play. Please check it out on our Instagram page: MUCO CARD GAME
As far as leadership is concerned, I've recently had the honor of being elected as the President of Agriculture Leadership Shields (Student Organization at UNL), and it is my pleasure to serve alongside the newly elected committee of other equally ambitious students.
Furthermore, spiritual life is very important to me, and that is why I am part of UNL Navigators on campus. This is a Christian-based group of students who are navigating life together with the desire to know and love God more every day. After our busy days, it is always good to sit and reflect on how your day went and thank God for love, protection, success and strength to carry on no matter what.
Samuel has received the following scholarship: College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Undergraduate Scholarship Program