Class of 2020

           Sample Student Chart

Ruth Dejene

Columbia University, NY

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Meet Ruth Dejene. Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she came to the US in 2009 and currently lives in Northern Virginia. She is a senior at Justice High School and an IB Diploma Candidate. Working with the Make-A-Wish foundation, Ruth has founded an annual fundraiser where she raised thousands of dollars for the organization. Her profound impact dramatically increased her notoriety across various institutions, so much so that she’s become a recurring Keynote Speaker at Georgetown University. In 2017, at just the age of 14, this impressive young girl has also founded an entire tutoring center where she manages a team of young adults, directing them to support elementary school students from low income communities. In addition to these accomplishments, Ruth has founded and leads the Speech and Debate Team through which she has won regional competitions, the Ethiopian Eritrean Club among other impressive leadership roles. She also serves as President of the Science National Honor Society and is currently on the Advisory Councils of both her school’s student services and administration departments. Ruth is a member of various other honor societies and clubs and is interested in studying in the field of social science.

Jonathan Goshu

Brown University, RI

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Meet Jonathan Goshu, a senior at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Virginia. Jonathan is a member of Hayfield’s Math, Science, and Spanish honor societies and constantly works to promote academia throughout his community. He is passionate about addressing the discrepancies in healthcare amongst underrepresented communities and this past summer, was a research scholar at the George Washington University studying diabetes prevention and management in wards 7 and 8 of Washington, DC. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys tutoring fellow students and volunteering at the Children's National Medical Center. He is also a senior advisor in his school’s Student 2 Student program, where he helps new students adjust to the school’s environment and improves their experience at Hayfield. Ultimately, Jonathan would like to use his education as a tool to leave a lasting, positive impact on his community and improve the lives of others. He is admitted to almost all the schools he applied to.

Sem Asmelash

Yale University, CT

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Meet Sem Asmelash. He is a senior at Justice High School in VA but born and raised in Eritrea before he immigrated to the United States in 2008. Sem has held many impressive hats in STEM extracurriculars: founding Justice's first Robotics Club, leading Science Honors Society as Vice President, as well as participating in Science Olympiad, Math Honors Society, and many more. Sem also makes it a priority to tutor struggling students in varying STEM related courses. He has also interned for the Smithsonian, specifically the National Museum of Natural History and even worked with an accomplished Herpetologist to examine the evolutionary behaviors and mechanisms of over 250 species of frogs. His thorough and professional work is leading to a scientific publication that credits his work. Sem also enjoys running for his school's Cross Country and Track team, and has been awarded 8 Varsity honors. He has led his team two consecutive DCXC titles and many other invitational meets. His strong leadership skills and impressive state-level record has led to his role as Captain for two years. Incorporating his passion for running with community service, Sem organized the Glasgow Running Club aimed to tackle the obesity crisis in middle schools.

Wongelawit Ayele

William's College, MA

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Meet Wongelawit Ayele. Born and raised in Ethiopia, she moved to the US in 2012 and is currently a senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Wongelawit serves as an Amharic Sign Language interpreter for the deaf community at her church in addition to managing church summer camp programs and teaching young children and co-chairing the Children's’ Sunday School Committee. At school, she is a student leader for the Minority Scholars program and participates in the National Honors Society and French Honors Society. She is a QuestBridge Prep Scholar, Lazarus Leadership Fellow and Youth Leader crafting a leadership development project with Plan International USA, a humanitarian organization advancing the rights of women and children worldwide. Wongelawit also volunteers at Suburban Hospital and plans to explore the medical field and pursue a degree in Global Health to increase access to healthcare for women in Africa.

Adam Yonas

Cornell University, NY

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Meet Adam Yonas, a senior currently attending Hayfield Secondary School. Ever since he was young, Adam’s goal has been to become an aerospace engineer. In order to accomplish that dream he attended countless immersive programs and classes that he believes teach important engineering principles. His favorite activities to date have been my school’s robotics team, an online NASA based course called Virginia Space Coast Scholars, and a summer academy at the Wallops Flight Facility taught by the same program. In these courses Adam has created several theoretical research missions using unique scientific equipment and crafts as well as spending countless hours working on machinery to build robots for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition. Though these have been fulfilling experiences, Adam has also been a part of several other clubs that have also been a great learning experience, such as my school’s Technology Student Association, Science Olympiad and the Science Honors Society.

Fikir Mekonnen

Yale University, CT

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Meet Fikir Mekonnen, Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she moved to Northern Virginia in 2008 and currently attends West Springfield High School, Fikir participates and holds leadership positions in many extracurricular activities including Debate, Science Olympiad, and Spartans for War Victims. Driven by her love of research, she created an interactive website exploring the history of apartheid in South Africa and won a gold medal for it at the Virginia History Day competition. To expose herself to careers in the medical field, she volunteers at INOVA hospital Alexandria where she fulfills several roles that allow her to interact with patients and observe experienced hospital staff. In addition to these amazing involvements, Fikir enjoys reading, coding, drawing, embroidering, and researching whatever topic has piqued her interest. This impressive girl has been admitted to almost ALL of the colleges she applied to including ColumbiaDukeBrownCornell among other fine institutions.

Amir Jiru

Colby College, ME

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Meet Amir Jiru. He was born and raised in Ethiopia but immigrated to the United States in 2007. He is currently a senior at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Amir is a club leader in his school's Black Student Union, a co-head of the Entrepreneurship Club, and a leader in his school's club for African students. He plays varsity Lacrosse and manages the varsity Football and Basketball teams. Amir has volunteered for many organizations including Martha's Table, Kid Power, and Days for Girls. His favorite subjects are History, Math, and English. In his free time, he also enjoys reading, researching, playing and following sports. He is fluent in Amharic and has studied Spanish for six years. Amir hopes to pursue a career in either business, law, or health and to continue being a positive force in his community.

Johnathan Daniel

University of Michigan, MI

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Meet Jonathan Daniel, he is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. After taking Latin since his Freshman year, he became an officer in the Latin Honor Society last year and his senior year as well. Similarly, he joined the Ballroom Dance as a freshman and became an officer as a sophomore. He has performed in his school’s International Night for the past two years and will again next year. During his senior year, he has served as a student instructor and choreographer for the club. Having joined the school crew team Freshman year, he has rowed in the summer and fall for a club team in addition to rowing on the school team in the winter and spring. He is now a captain of the team. This summer, he was interning at MITRE as an electrical engineer and hopes to be able to research photonic devices again in the future.

Natnael Kelkay

UNC Chapel Hill, NC

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Meet Natnael Kelkay, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School. He was born in rural Ethiopia but grew up in Maryland. As a member of his school’s National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Science Honors Society, W.E.B DuBois Honor Society, and American Sign Language Honor Society, this young man also serves as the founder of his schools Blazer Coders club. He is also involved in his school’s Student Government Association as the Chief Technological Officer, spreading mental health awareness and managing the school's website. He is also an avid member of Mecha United, a charity organization that works to uplift those living in severe conditions and poverty in Ethiopia. Also, through the George B. Thomas Learning Academy, he teaches students that come from underserved communities. Nate currently serves as the Vice President of his Robotics team and recently competed in Detroit for World Championships, which is also where he attended a National conference through the National Society of Black Engineers. In addition to this, he has placed highly on other competitions such as CADathons, and related STEM competitions. He is currently working as a research intern with the Lead Computer Scientist at the University of Maryland to help publish a book on Fair Division, coupled with another internship with the Lead Robotics Engineer at the Intelligent Automation, Inc (IAI). In recent years, he has worked at the Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget as a technical assistant for the IT team and discussed universal budget plans with ambassadors from different countries. Through his vast experience he has learned over 7 programming languages.

Heaven Minassie

Bard College, NY

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Meet Heaven Minassie, a senior at Falls Church High School located in Falls Church, Virginia. Born in Alexandria, Virginia from two Eritrean parents, Heaven has founded the Women of Color club, created to empower, support, and educate on matters concerning women of color, while also holding a secretarial position for the Young Democrats, a space where they discuss current events through their various perspectives. She also serves president for the Black Student Union, a club that has grown by the help of her efforts through her organizational skills and spreading the word on controversial subjects by initiating discussions. Through these achievements, she has developed a strong interest in racial injustices and human rights issues, contributing to her strong consideration in journalism. She also currently holds a part-time job and participates in volunteering for her school by aiding in tutoring and engaging in a mentoring program for rising freshman. Heaven is also a member of the Lacrosse team and has been a past member of the Track and Cross Country teams.

Noh Woldeyesus

Northeastern University, MA

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Meet Noh Woldeyesus. He is a senior at Washington-Liberty High School in VA. Born in Arlington from two Eritrean parents, this young man is a member of his school's DECA club, a business-related club, and he holds a Secretary position at his school's Hip-Hop Heads Club, a club that discusses and dissects Hip-Hop lyrics in the context of current events and pop culture. In addition to, Noh also holds a part-time job and consistently volunteers at a local community center program that specializes in supporting children in their academic journey, and provides educational stimulation during the summer. Noh has interests in both Computer Science and Business and looks to Entrepreneurship as a potential career path for the future. Noh also has aspirations to go back to Eritrea in order to help contribute to programs that will support development projects.

Yisehak Ebrahim

Johhs Hopkins University, MD

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Meet Yisehak Ebrahim. Born in Addis Ababa, he moved to the United States in 2003 and currently attends Mount Vernon High School. He founded the Rotary Interact Club at his school where he serves as president. He also participates in Young Scholars and holds leadership positions in the Black Student Union, College Partnership Program, MVHS Cares, and many more. Sports are integral part of his life as Yisehak has plays basketball for his school and currently plays Varsity lacrosse as captain. This young ma has been selected from Mount Vernon to attend a Cybersecurity Summer Institute and nominated to attend Virginia Boys State. In pursuit of his engineering and physics aspirations, Yisehak currently works at the United States Naval Research laboratory as an Engineer Technician, which is a Pathways paid internship.

Elaine Keleta

Middlebury College, VT

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Meet Elaine Keleta, a senior at Centreville High School in Northern Virginia. She currently serves as president of Varsity Club and secretary/treasurer of HOSA (health occupations students of America). Along with that she is an active member of National Honor Society, W.E.B DuBois Honor Society, and National Technical Honor Society and has taken advantage of lots of volunteer opportunities through the Pathway Homes company where she helped coordinate 5k walks and other fundraising initiatives to help those suffering from mental illnesses and homelessness. Through these experiences, she learned quite a lot about cooperating with others and adapting to different situations. In her free time, she goes to her local dental office and shadow as much as she can. Along with that I was chosen to take special dental classes at Chantilly Academy for her junior and senior years of HS, which afforded her the opportunity to be a certified dental assistant.

Sena Deressa

Boston College, MA

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Meet Sena Deressa. Born from Ethiopian parents and raised in Alexandria, Virginia he is currently a senior attending Mount Vernon High School. Sena is in his school’s IBCP, a program in a few select IB based high schools. He is also a member and holds multiple leadership positions in clubs such as National Honor Society, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), Young Life for Mount Vernon, Black Student Union, and Financial Literacy Club. He is a co-founder of Mount Vernon Rotary Interact Club with two of his other friends, one of which is in IEA. Since 2016, Sena has used a lot of his free time to volunteer at homeless shelters accumulating over 50+ hours. On top of that, he has been a part of a community clean-up which covered almost a mile of roadway and food banks in the DC area. In addition to these worthy involvements, Sena has played basketball for his school team every year and got bumped up to Varsity by the end of his sophomore season.

Milka Asghedom

NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Meet Milka Asghedom. Born in Newport News VA to Eritrean parents, she is currently a senior at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax - her 8th school since Pre-K. She’s accomplished rigorous AP and IB classes, and continues to do so this academic year. She’s currently in a Dual Enrollment program where she takes classes at a local college. Having been in an advanced student program since the 3rd grade, Milka has always been passionate about anatomy and physical therapy, and even wants to pursue the sciences towards a PH.D. degree. Onto her 6th year of studying the Spanish language and culture, she also hopes to expand her enthusiasm by one day travelling to Spain to get a more immersive experience. This is her 3rd year as a member of her school’s National Honor Society chapter and among her varying interests, Milka enjoys researching fascinating topics such as the interface between the human body and prosthetics. Outside of school, she regularly volunteers at the Pinn Center, her local community’s after-school program for children. She’s also an active member of her church, and volunteers to coordinate events for youth.

Bethlehem Merga

Boston College, MA

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Meet Bethlehem ‘Beth’ Merga. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Beth came to America at the age of three in 2005, and is currently a senior at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. Always willing to act upon her beliefs, Beth is an avid proponent equality. She has fought for equal rights, having recently planned and held a protest in support of DACA recipients and the S. 874 bill. She dedicates her weekends to Saturday School, a club that mentors underprivileged 7th grade girls on the powers of education, hard work, and confidence. Alongside Saturday School, Beth also routinely volunteers at her old elementary school to mentor current middle school students. Beth has been selected to attend a nationwide conference in Washington State known as SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Conference) in early December. Beth is extremely active both socially and politically and has led numerous workshops for her entire school in hopes to foster macro level change. Beth was also an active member of the American Sign Language club, Black Women Society, and her school’s Varsity Track and Field team.

Galilee Ambellu

UNC Chapel Hill, NC

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Meet Galilee Ambellu, a senior at Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA. Serving on the Principal’s and Counselor’s Advisory Board, Galilee also serves in committees such as Yorktown ROCS Committee and Arlington’s Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. She has 100+ hours at Virginia Hospital and received the Leadership Arlington Youth Service Award for her consistent efforts. In addition to these commitments, she also holds positions in National Honor Societies, serves President of her school's Key Club all while working diligently towards becoming an OBGYN. Galilee’s love for Chemistry has allowed her to take selective classes in the field in addition to conducting extensive research. She works as a hostess at a local restaurant, played Freshmen and JV basketball her first two years and received her Varsity letter in outdoor track her 9th to 11th grade year. On February 13th, 2020, Galilee will be honored by the Arlington Public Schools' Superintendent as the only Black student at Yorktown HS to possess, utilize and reflect core qualities of leadership as part of Black History Month Celebration.

Gelila Kebede

NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Meet Gelila Kebede, a senior at George C. Marshall HS in Falls Church, Virginia. Born in Addis Ababa, she moved to Northern Virginia at the age of three with her family. She is an IB Diploma Candidate and the current president of the DECA chapter at her high school, after serving as Vice President last year. For three consecutive years, Gelila has competed and representd her chapter at the International Career and Development Conference (ICDC). She also holds a leadership position in her school’s FRC team, in addition to being a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Key Club, and Future Business Leaders of America. In her Junior year, she received the Entrepreneurship Student of the Year Award and the T.R. Cook Youth Awards of Excellence in Academics. She was a member of the Governor’s School for Agriculture Class of 2019 where she explored interests in Agribusiness, Agronomy, and Environmental Engineering. Outside the classroom, she practices and teaches karate, and earned her black belt last December. She hopes to study Chemical and Environmental Engineering in the future, in addition to earning her MBA and going into the renewable energy and resource industry.

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