International Scholars
Scholars Program




The Botstiber Scholars


Bruce Gashirabake, Rwanda, '21

I was born and raised in Kigali, Rwanda. I love walking in Kigali’s streets to experience the unity in diversity that has been molded over the years, the greenery of my country and the security that shouts from the corners of every street. I speak four languages namely English, French, Kinyarwanda and Kiswahili.

My chosen major is Mechanical Engineering. I am fascinated by the way the art of crafting machines and new technologies can radically change our communities, especially in Africa, for the better.

Electronic music is my guilty pleasure. I also love writing prose and poetry, visiting my friends, meeting new acquaintances, dancing, hanging out with my sister, challenging myself, praying and walking to clear my head. Music is a getaway car that makes my mind delve in a world of calmness while writing is my way of connecting to the world in the most succinct way. Whichever field of STEM I decide to venture in, I most importantly want to become a leader not just in Africa but in the world. I want to help as many Africans as possible to be able to access a good education because after all, a good education is a gift that keeps giving back to the community.

The prospect of being able to make an impact in the world thrills me, as a Botstiber Scholar. I want my Botstiber Scholarship to be the start of a long chain of great leadership and mentorship to many people. As a Botstiber Scholar, I like the multiplier effect that I have in vision for my education to the world at large.


Vanessa Kamunya, Kenya, ‘21

I come from Meru, Kenya. What I love most about Kenya is her people's friendliness and hospitality. I am fluent in English, Kiswahili which is our national language, and Gikuyu.

My area of study is Computer Engineering. I have always been interested to know how computers work and how to develop computer systems.

I love singing and reading novels. Singing helps relieve me when am down as it raises my spirits.
I would like to help my country realize 'Vision 2030', which is the national long-term development policy that aims to transform Kenya. I want to help realize that in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). I also want to help girls especially those in marginalized areas to embrace technology by teaching them coding and programming at the same time guiding them on leadership and self-dependence.

What motivates me to be a successful Botstiber Scholar is the need to give back to my community and also make all those who have gotten me here proud.


Harmonie Ngamuyeka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, '21

I am from Kinshasa, the Capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). My favorite part about my city is my neighborhood where people are very supportive. My first language is French, but I also speak Lingala, Kikongo, and English.

My major is civil engineering. The most interesting thing about this field is how from mathematical and physical principles which are abstract, civil engineers manage to design facilities such as roads, buildings, bridges, airports, dams, and so on. I’ve decided to major in civil engineering because of the great lack of infrastructure in my country. There are no roads for this semi-continent, DRC.

During my spare time, I love sharing experiences with friends and other young people. I organize free tutoring academic classes every Saturday where young girls in my neighborhood gain better understanding of courses taught at school. Through this training, they understand and accept to fight for the betterment of their life in a society where African women are marginalized. In addition to that, I love reading novels because it’s a great way to learn new words and expressions and to get a broad knowledge in many domains. I’m used to performing as a choir member, as a theater actress and as an African ballet dancer.

The fact of knowing that the Botstiber Scholars program will enable me to attend a great university my family can’t afford motivates me the most. Moreover, bearing in mind that the scientific knowledge I will gain at Penn State will enable me to contribute to the development of my home country triggers me to be part of tomorrow’s African leaders. All this thanks to Botstiber Scholarship.


Nahom Regassa, Ethiopia, '21

I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My favorite place in Addis has got to be this huge open-air market called Merkato. It’s one of those places where you never know what you’re going to stumble into or what you’re going to find; it’s just so chaotic it’s beautiful. I speak Amharic and English.

I want to study Computer science/Engineering at Penn state because doing so would allow me to make a positive difference in my country and Africa. There is a lot that needs to improve in our continent, and I feel that the first step towards achieving that goal lies in our better understanding of Computer technology.

I am a reading addict. It’s hard to describe in words what I enjoy about reading, so I’m just going to write down one of my favorite quotes and let you figure it out for yourself. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to—morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further…………. And one fine mourning………”

I believe one of the advantages of growing up in Ethiopia or in Africa is the abundant amount of motivation you get just by simply looking at the lives around you. I’m motivated by all the obstacles I had to overcome to get to where I am today; I’m motivated by the desire to give back to my community; I’m motivated by the confidence The Botstiber foundation and Penn state have shown in giving me this scholarship.


Faith Shipapa, Kenya, '21

My home country and city is Kenya, Nairobi. I love my country because of its rich heritage and diverse culture. I speak English, Kiswahili and Massai.

My area of study is Civil Engineering. This field, particularly in my country, needs expertise because it is a developing country and I would love to take part in that development.

My hobbies are playing soccer and writing poems. Soccer keeps me fit and relaxed while poetry has been my best way of expression. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, I would come back to Kenya and take part in road development in rural settings and infrastructure development at large.

I am motivated by the fact that I was selected among many deserving applicants to receive the scholarship. Therefore, it would only be expected of me to fully utilize this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Benson Wainaina, Kenya, '21

I am a Kenyan citizen currently residing in the city of Nairobi. While the city is at its peak in development, each resident has ingeniously stepped up to contribute in one way or another to ensure we reap the most out of the numerous opportunities available. What I find most fascinating is that this shared interest has helped nurture a sense of cohesion and unity which has cemented the relations between the diverse city dwellers. I am fluent in three languages: English, Kiswahili and the local tongue (Kikuyu).

I look forward to enrolling into the electrical engineering program at Pennsylvania State University. I have always been fascinated by the numerous applications and manipulation of electrical energy into various facets of the society. I believe that the comprehensive program will help mold me into an efficient and innovative electrical engineer who will pioneer greater projects in my country. I believe that I will be of great service to my country as we push forward to achieving our Vision 2030; a dream of untold development.

In my leisure time, I love to play soccer and swim. These activities have helped me remain fit and widen my scope of friends. Once in a while I engage in karaoke and perform songs. While I am not super talented in singing, I find the experience exhilarating and an excellent avenue to expand my social circle.

I am humbled to be a Botstiber scholar and I look forward to making maximum utilization of the myriad opportunities available in the program to hone my skills in leadership, to expand my scope in academics and improve in my interpersonal skills. I believe that the program is the perfect platform to help me learn and transform into a prolific scholar.


The Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation • 200 E. State Street • Suite 306-A • Media, Pennsylvania 19063 •