I love UNT Dallas and the people here. The university is filled with genuine people that care about your future and make sure you are on the right path.

Fifteen years ago, my parents won the lottery. It wasn’t a money lottery, it was a chance to come to America. My parents came to America first, and then my siblings and I followed a year later. It was quite a culture shock, from the airplane ride over here to living with different races and types of people for the first time.

I had some trouble adjusting at first, because I couldn’t understand or speak English. I was in second grade and it was hard making friends. All I knew to say was, “Can I go to the restroom?” We would be in class while the teacher taught and I would be thinking, “I have no idea what you are saying.” Eventually I was exposed to English as Second Language (ESL) courses, which definitely helped. 

While in high school, we had a rigorous process where each of us had to apply to at least 10 colleges. That’s when I learned about UNT Dallas. After I applied, I became aware of the PLUS Fellow Scholarship. A friend of mine at school told me about it and all the opportunities it included, so I decided to go to the interview. Once I came to campus, I knew that UNT Dallas was the right place for me.

I love UNT Dallas and the people I’ve met. The people make the university. It’s filled with people that genuinely care about your future and make sure you are on the right path. If you are passionate about your future, the faculty and staff want to be the stepping-stone that helps you get to where you want to go.

I am pursuing a double major in Psychology and Human Services, Management & Leadership with a certification in Alternative Dispute Resolution. The passion that God has placed in my heart is to serve my community. When I’m not on campus, the majority of my time is spent helping at my church where there are so many girls struggling with issues I have overcome. When I was their age, I was in the same situation and now I’m in a position to provide a helping hand. Working with these girls has inspired me to create “Boldly Awkward,” a group that encourages girls to be themselves, and be proud of their God-given abilities. I remind them to trust in God, speak up, and never give in.  I encourage them to continue in working toward their goals, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. My life experiences have taught me that you never know what God has planned for you. 

It’s crazy to see how God is so evident in my life, and in my family. I now have a sister in college, and a brother about to graduate from high school. We are all pursuing our dreams, which is something we wouldn’t have had in Ethiopia. Our parents encourage us to stay strong in our faith. “It’s been my motivation. There are times where I don’t want to wake up or do this, but I go back saying, “hey I have this ability that is God-given, and I should be able to multiply the talents I have been given.”