The Catalyst

Student receives Olga B. Satre Hart Giving Back Memorial Scholarship

Santa-Mika Ndayiziga is one of the Olga B. Satre Hart Giving Back Memorial Scholarship winners. She is an international student from Burundi and has attended St. Cloud State University since fall 2009.  The Olga B. Satre Hart Giving Back Memorial Scholarship is awarded by the School of Health and Human Services to a limited number of outstanding undergraduate and graduate students each year.

How did she hear about the scholarship and what motivated her to apply?

Santa-Mika Ndayiziga learned of the scholarship through her roommate who, along with professors and her parents, encouraged her to apply.  Santa-Mika was also inspired by a quote said by her parents “if something comes your way don’t let it go”.  Professor Paula Watts Zehringer acted as her advisor and reference person for the scholarship.

Why Social Work as a major?

Santa-Mika’s country has been through a civil war and experienced a lot of crisis.   Through these experiences she has seen a lot of marginalization.  Unlike many others, she did not want to become a nurse because she was not interested in working with physical pain. Her interest in social work came about through talking with friends and career counseling, which focused on matching her profile and career goals.  Because her career goals included an interest in helping other people, the social work major was a match.

In addition to her social work major, Santa-Mika is minoring in intercultural communication and partners with local high schools to provide educational presentations on the subject.  Santa-Mika is also part of community and campus organizations such as Dancing with Many Voices, the International Student Organization, African Student Association, Hands Across the World, Francophone Club, Ethiopian Student Association, and the Social Work Association.

Future roles after graduation

In the future, Mika intends to go back to her country and wants to devote her time to working with refugees and immigrants. The reason she would like to work with this population is they are mainly people who come from broken places and who are forced and/or urged to leave their home country to try to find a better life elsewhere. She can only imagine what it feels like to flee your own home and to seek for a better place, and yet being looked at as an alien or simply being rejected. She would like to be a voice for the people who are struggling to fit in new places and be an advocate for them, because she strongly believes that people deserve second chances when they have to rebuild their lives. After few years of experience she would like to finish a Master’s degree. Her main motto in her life is “never give up, everybody gets second chance”

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