Student Spotlight: Shemsa Ndahiro Iribagiza

Shemsa Ndahiro Iribagiza
Meet Shemsa Ndahiro Iribagiza, an integrated sciences student from Kigali, Rwanda that is graduating this spring.
May 3, 2021

Hometown: Kigali, Rwanda.

Major: Integrated Sciences – Nutrition, Minors in Psychology and Leadership and Communication

Anticipated Date of Graduation: May 2021

Why did you decide to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

It was not really much of a decision! The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was my best option in terms of the scholarship program and an ideal environment because I knew that there were many more Rwandan students that were going here. I love the community and it's very important for me that I am surrounded by people with whom we share the same values and culture.

How has diversity and inclusive excellence played a role in your CASNR experience?

Honestly, it was very tough because CASNR is not necessarily the most diverse department at UNL. At the beginning, I spent so much time explaining where I am from, Rwanda, and so many things about Africa which seemed like people were being a little ignorant. It exhausted me and I hated it! However, I have met some amazing people that have encouraged me and showed me the way whenever I was struggling. Eventually, I realized their genuineness of the questions and the lack of knowledge. Now, I enjoy talking about my culture, my background and my values as a Rwandan student. The same goes for learning about other people's experiences. I am always fascinated by learning about different childhood experiences and how our families have diverse parenting styles. I have learned so much working with Global Engagement, cultural night being my favorite experience. I have done things that pushed me out of my comfort zone and honestly, if that is not the college experience, I don't know what is!

What is your favorite class you have taken so far and why?

I am a relational person and I love interactive environments! My favorite class so far has been ALEC 102 which I took in the spring of 2019 with Tori Pierce. I love ALEC classes, but that was my all-time favorite and I think it was because of the professor. In some way, she inspired me to find my place as an inclusive leader.

What are your plans for post-graduation?

I definitely want to go to graduate school but I'm not sure what to study yet.

What’s life like outside of school?

I am not sure about this question. If it is outside class, I like to stay engaged, and currently, I am working with ASUN in the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and I am the Public Relations Officer of the Rwandan Student Association. Outside of school, I like to spend time with my close friends. We go on walks, do movie nights and some loud unpleasant sounds of karaoke. Seriously, we cannot sing but we like karaoke. 

Shemsa has received the following scholarship: CASNR Scholarship Program (CUSP).