Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Carrie Sandborn

Second Advisor

Marcela Mendoza


This thesis is a reflection of my life experience as a refugee immigrant and woman of color in STEM. A methodology called autoethnography is used to narrate this experience. Autoethnography narrates one experience and how it connects with the social environment. This thesis describes the challenges and achievements I have encountered in life. The thesis focuses on my journey of migrating to the United States with my family as a refugee from Rwanda. The cultural and social differences that we had to adjust to, such as a new language and education systems. It also elaborates on social issues such as gender inequality, underrepresentation and how they have impacted my life. How gender inequality has impacted my career goal of becoming a doctor. How my mom had to enroll me in school at a young age so I could not be a victim of a school dropout. It further explains the importance of representation and mentorship in education. Throughout my college experience, I have met a lot of mentors that have helped me throughout college. I highlight how each mentorship program has significantly impacted my life. I also explain the effects of imposter syndrome on students of color and how it can lead to switching majors. Finally, I touch on my goal of becoming a doctor and going back to Africa to help my community. The goal of this thesis is to encourage students who have had similar experiences. Especially students such as foundation scholars who will most likely have the same experience as I. This is to let them know that their past should be a learning experience and not define their future. Not getting the scholarship you have dreamed of does not mean your whole career is ruined. It is merely an obstacle that you will have a learning experience from.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted