Norette Ingabire '20 is an international student and computer science major from Burundi. She discusses how she came to Dartmouth, her desire to use her education to improve healthcare in her country, and the role financial aid played in making her Dartmouth education possible.
I was in a pre-university program in Rwanda after high school. We were transitioning from French to English and someone from Dartmouth came and visited us. I interviewed with them and, because I knew some students who were already here, I wanted to go to this school.
My family would not have been able to afford Dartmouth without financial aid. I found out about Dartmouth’s financial aid program through a program called Bridge2Rwanda. They explained what was available and helped us fill out the financial aid application. It was amazing when I found out that I had been accepted and was going to receive financial assistance. It was a huge relief.
People who give to the Dartmouth College Fund should know that they are helping students achieve their goals and get to a place they thought they would never be. It opens a lot of doors for these students, and for the future development of their countries.
I am glad to have mentors and advisors here, like computer science professor Andrew Campbell, who is my major advisor. He has helped me decide the best classes to take. And Jay Davis, who leads the First Year Student Enrichment Program. He’s been really helpful in everything—really amazing.
The best classes I have taken so far were my first-year geography courses and a class on international human development, which spoke to most of the things that I care about.
Even though I’m majoring in computer science, I definitely want to apply to myself to humanity and do something that is greater than just computers.
“Good leaders set an example for whatever they want to see change. They show it in their actions. They are inspired and work hard.”
– Norette Ingabire ’20
I would like to go back to Burundi to contribute. I am very interested in global health and using technology to improve healthcare—to make it more accessible and affordable for everyone. There are a lot of things that we need to work on, but I feel like healthcare’s really important, because there are a lot of people dying. If we manage to improve that, we can save the lives of millions of people—who can then go on to work towards the country’s development.
My computer science degree could be applied to improving database retrieval, for example. When you go to the hospital it takes too long to find all the paper work with your health history. It’s not efficient. There are many little things that could improve healthcare or communication.
Especially for the people in rural villages, it’s hard to communicate between hospitals without higher technology. This definitely takes a toll on patients, and it can cost them their lives. We need to improve the systems.
I recently completed an internship at Facebook in Menlo Park. It’s actually an eight-week internship program called Facebook University. For the first three weeks, we learned about mobile application development. I was working on iOS and during the last five weeks we were in teams of three people each, developing an app. It was really cool to have something that we built ourselves. It’s not a finished product, but it functions.
It’s a social app that connects people who have the same interests. With most social media now, you are talking to people without ever seeing them. We wanted to change that. Our app helps connect people who are within, for instance, a 15-mile radius to do an activity together, in person.
I am part of Aquinas House, the Catholic student center on campus, and have taken on some leadership roles there. I am also in the SOYEYA African dance troupe and the Dartmouth African Students Association.
I am in the Allen House community, and it’s a great group of people to hang out with. We’ve gone to the Allen House professor’s home a few times; they are always so nice and welcoming.