While the Coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc world over, people have been looking for inspiration to get by the daily doom and gloom rendered by news of friends or even strangers getting infected with the virus. In America, millions of people are now jobless while over 100,000 people are reported infected with the virus.
Amidst the sad news associated with Covid-19, Sharon Njeri Wambu has reason to celebrate after receiving acceptance to several prestigious universities in America: Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, USC, UCLA, UCI, USDC, UCSB, UCR, Cal Poly Pomona, and Vanderbilt
This is no mean fete for Sharon, a Kenyan-America whose parents immigrated to America to pursue the proverbial American dream. The former Norco High student’s exploits have arguably granted her parents a frontline ticket to witness how America rewards those who work hard and play by the rules.
African Warrior Magazine reached out to an elated Sharon and this is what she had to say:
AW: What will you be studying at the University?
Sharon: I am excited to study computer science in college. In the future, I would like to use software engineering to work on platforms where people can share experiences with each other. I actually didn’t know I would venture into this field until the summer before my senior year. I feel that computer science gives me a tangible way to solve problems around me, and I appreciate the creativity that computer science requires.
AW: What does acceptance to these prestigious schools make you feel?
Sharon: When I opened my college acceptances, I was incredibly excited and even a bit shocked. So many qualified applicants get rejected and I am grateful that the admissions committees saw something in me. It makes me happy to know that wherever I choose to go, I will have access to amazing resources and people who will push me and help me achieve my goals.
AW: How will you use this opportunity to make an impact in society?
Sharon: I believe that the most powerful software engineer is a socially conscious one. Through computer science, I hope to create innovative solutions for societal problems and cater to underserved communities. One way I have worked towards this is by making a game for the visual and hearing impaired as a part of a group project during a summer program. In addition, I am working on an app to inspire students of color to challenge themselves academically after realizing that there were no other black students in my advanced classes.
I now have the opportunity to not only improve my coding skills, but also make connections with established engineers and receive funding and mentorship for my future projects. As a Kenyan American, I have faced some of the misconceptions that some people have about Kenya and other countries like it. Perhaps using technology such as virtual reality, I can show people the beautiful country, the value put on education, and the complex issues that Kenya is dealing with. Large projects like this will take an advancement in my technological skills, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from top professors and outstanding students.
AW: What is your message to young girls who want to have access to prestigious universities in America
Sharon: I want young girls to know that they can do absolutely anything they want to do if they put their mind to it. In addition to studying hard, I want to encourage young girls to try new things and do what they love!
Academic achievement is important, but you have to have more to get into top schools. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in new situations. Many people told me that sports were the way to stand out, but after trying tennis and playing basketball for three years, I found my true home onstage as a performer. I am now President and Co-Dance Captain of my school’s choir, and I have put myself in new situations to perform in front of the entire school. I found many opportunities after deciding to try computer science right before my senior year. You never know if you will succeed in something if you don’t try! Start that new club you were thinking about, take that class that sounds interesting, and reach out to people who you want to learn from. Put yourself out there and be a leader. I believe in you! The opportunities are endless as long as you believe that they are.
Speaking with African Warrior Magazine, Sharon’s mother Sarah could not hide her joy, but is not surprised noting that her daughter has put in all the hard work.
So far, Sharon is yet to choose which university she will be going to, but whatever decision she makes, it will be a great choice.