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This year, the French section has chosen to present a special award to Lénine Ange Rukebesha Iradukunda as she has distinguished herself above all in her incredible service to others during her time at Wright State. Lénine met many members of the Wright State French section when she was at Belmont high school, and one of our seniors was running an after-school program for native French speakers. Upon entering the French program, it was clear that Lénine would be more than just a student, but a true collaborator. Her service as French club treasurer and then president for two years was key to the club’s successful events: cooking days, presentations, field trips, April Kraze, Fall Fest, and many target language activities. Her service in French also includes a service-learning assistantship in Bordeaux, France where she taught American culture in an at-risk French high school, help planning Immersion Day for high school students in 2016, and teaching French lessons to middle schoolers.
In addition to serving the French program, she has also worked to help children affected by domestic violence, raised money to buy school supplies for children in need, prepared meals for the homeless, volunteered with disabled children, volunteered with a pediatric office, and engaged in Rwandan community outreach and service by tutoring and babysitting the young children of recent Rwandan and Burundian refugees and immigrants.
Lénine plans on obtaining her doctorate in occupational therapy and public health. After her education, she wants to establish an NGO for children with disabilities in Rwanda and in other African countries as well.
Leenine is grateful for her French studies, she says that, “Studying French has allowed me to meet great mentors (my professors ) who inspire me and care about my success. Studying French also gave me a great understanding of other francophone countries in terms of culture and customs all of which will be necessary in my future career.”
When asked why service to others is important to her, Lénine responds that, “Service allows me to make an impact on other people’s lives; it’s my way of giving back to the community and to extend my gratitude to the people who inspire me every day.
Her advice to new ML majors is: “Get involved! They are tons of ways you can get involved at WSU (student orgs, research, outside organizations etc.) This will broaden your horizons, enrich your college experience - and it looks great on your résumé!