Current Scholar Profiles

Adetolani Odogiyon

Tolani in front of a color backgroundCountry: Nigeria
Class Year: 2024
Major: Neuroscience, Health: Science, Society and Policy

After interning in a health clinic during the summer of her junior year at high school, Adetolani became interested in the complexities of the healthcare sector of Nigeria and has spent her time since then trying to understand these complexities. She does this through work experience and on the ground research. She hopes to use the skills gathered to improve the access of low-income Nigerians to better healthcare through advocacy. Adetolani also attended the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa where she served as the president of the Debate club. Outside of these experiences, she enjoys storytelling, reading, listening to podcasts, and photography.

Anastasiia (Stacey) Chizhikova

Photo of Stacey Chizhikova

Country: Russia
Class: 2026
Major: Music

Stacey grew up in Russia but later moved to Germany. During her time in high school, she found her passion for theater, music, and social justice. Before attending Brandeis University, Stacey spent her gap year teaching acting and theater history to Russian-speaking children in Germany. She taught herself how to produce music and composed soundtracks for local theater productions. She also created content for different Youtube channels. As the Co-Founder of “Aurora International Journal,” Stacey researched the problem of the underrepresentation of female producers in the music industry. This inspired more young female producers to join the Journal. She would like to study film and music at Brandeis and produce her own music and movies in the future.

Aranjinsuren Enkhbat

Photo of Aranjin EnkhbatCountry: Mongolia
Class: 2024
Major: Computer Science

Aranjin grew up in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and attended the British School of Ulaanbaatar. During his time in high school, he held various leadership positions, most notably holding the position of Head Student in his senior year. Prior to coming to Brandeis, he spent his semester off sharing his experiences and guiding other Mongolian students through the U.S. college application process. At Brandeis, Aranjin is interested in studying both Economics and Mathematics.

Bisrat Kassie
Picture of Bisrat

Country: Ethiopia
Class: 2025
Major: Computer Science

Bisrat Kassie is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He attended Saint Joseph High School where most of his extracurricular activities took place. He was the president of the sports council and the coordinator of the De Lasalle sport games. He was also the President of the Science and Laboratory Club where he supervised many science related activities like the Fishing Pond Project and the Vertical Garden Project. He also worked as the secretary of the student council for two years. As secretary, he got the chance to work with many members of our school community in creating a conducive teaching-learning environment. Outside of school, he volunteered in a local NGO called Meseret Humanitarian Organization, where he was the supervisor of a fundraising activity that provides back-to-school stationery materials for orphan children. In his spare time, Bisrat likes to watch football and basketball, read books, and play the Begena (an Ethiopian religious instrument).

Bylasan Muneer

Photo of Bylasan

Country: Palestine
Class: 2025
Major: Undeclared

Bylasan is a Palestinian student who participated in a college counseling program called Bridge Palestine. During the program, she learned about Brandeis. After graduating from Bridge, she wanted to provide counseling for students in Palestine who wanted to attend universities abroad and that’s when she founded a project called Fanar, “the light that comes out of a lighthouse.” Bylasan is also a volunteer at UN-Women in Palestine and has organized a lot of activities and events to support women and children in Palestine. Currently, Bylasan wants to pursue medicine to continue her career of helping people in need in Palestine.

Ekin Chakma

Ekin standing in front of stairs

Country: Bangladesh
Class: 2027
Major: Undeclared

Ekin was born and grew up in Rangamati, a small city in southeast Bangladesh. Growing up in a friendly neighborhood amidst an indigenous community he never realized how it feels when someone lives outside the comfort zone. The transition from 7th to 12th grade when he attended Sylhet Cadet College made him more passionate about working for minority people who can’t raise their voices for not having equal opportunities. He is blessed to have friends who support his passion for ameliorating the hardships of low-income people and providing a pathway for free education to unprivileged street children. Apart from that, he volunteered with the NGOs focusing on indigenous communities teaching STEM subjects, creating environmental awareness, and working with projects addressing societal and development challenges during vacations. Outside of these, he likes to play football and table tennis and learn new topics that spark his interest. He wants to pursue his career by majoring in computer science at Brandeis to work with big data.

Emmanuel Kwizera Kwigenga

KwizoCountry: Kenya/Rwanda
Class Year: 2024
Majors: Economics

Emmanuel (Kwizo) Kwigenga attended Baricho High School in Kenya. As a mentor in his community and champion for social justice, Kwizo co-founded an organization called “Gifting Hands,” where he organized visits to children’s homes and coordinated team-building activities for local youth. Using photography as a medium for storytelling, Kwizo recorded interviews, covered events and shared stories of refugees through social media.

Gregory Oppong

Picture of Gregory Oppong

Country: Ghana
Class: 2026
Major: Undeclared-Computer Science and Applied Mathematics

Gregory grew up in Kumasi, a city in the central part of Ghana. He attended the Opoku Ware School, where he discovered his passion for research, technology, and community engagement. After high school, Gregory took a gap year to pursue his passions and explore new ones. It was during this time that he discovered Brandeis University.

Gregory is currently pursuing a major in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and hopes to explore the field of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

Ligia Azevedo

Photo of LigiaCountry: Brazil
Class: 2025
Major: Undeclared

Ligia was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During high school, Ligia taught mathematics to low-income adult students, volunteered in a plastic collection non-profit organization, and had the opportunity to study abroad in London and in Tokyo. Passionate about education and gender equality, she founded a STEM course for teenage girls during her gap year, aiming at encouraging more women to pursue careers in math and science. With the pandemic, Ligia developed and coordinated a project focused on producing PPE for public healthcare institutions in her city. Since receiving her acceptance at Brandeis, she has also dedicated her time to share her experience and guide other Brazilian students interested in applying to universities in the US.

Madina Nasriddinova

Photo of MadinaCountry: Uzbekistan
Class Year: 2025
Majors: Computer Science and Economics

Madina attended a public school in her hometown, Namangan, and an IB private school, Tashkent International School, also known as TIS (both schools are located in Uzbekistan). She created a project for recognizing and appreciating Uzbek literature among the youth by writing a website with her teammates from TIS where they provided the locations of statues of Uzbek writers and poets in Tashkent and wrote their biography and work description. She has also taken part in charity projects where she would help the beekeepers by selling their honey in school and giving the raised money to the center for the disabled in her neighborhood. She also participated in TECHNOVATION Girls 2020, where she became one of the semifinalists. Later in 2021, she became a student ambassador to help girls from Uzbekistan learn to code and help the Uzbek community by writing mobile apps that solved social, emotional, or academic issues in society. At Brandeis, Madina is interested in studying computer science and economics and plans to minor in Chinese and psychology.

Moldir Yeleussizova

Moldir standing in a libraryCountry: Kazakhstan
Class Year: 2024
Major: Economics

Moldir attended Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. During high school, Moldir founded a gender equality club, mastered the Dombra (Kazakh traditional lute), and competed in several volleyball tournaments. She is also an avid student of Karate, employing her determination in all aspects of life. At Brandeis, Moldir is a STEM-loving activist who is passionate about the interdisciplinary curriculum.

Niámh Erin Mullen

Photo of Niamh Erin Mullen

Country: Ireland
Class: 2026
Major: English

Niámh grew up in Co. Tyrone, Ireland. Before joining Brandeis University, Niamh was a Prefect at St. Catherine's College. Because she has always had a passion for travel and experiencing new cultures, Niámh applied to the Sutton Trust U.S. Programme. She had no prior knowledge of the U.S. higher education system, but she soon learned about studying in the United States and decided that its flexibility would be a much better fit for her. She is interested in writing, and plans to study English and Journalism at Brandeis.

Rafi Levi

Photo of Rafi LeviCountry: Turkey
Class: 2024
Major: Film, Television and Interactive Media

Rafi attended The Koç School in Istanbul, Turkey. He was in a semi-professional theater troupe for seven years where he performed in nine different plays as well as writing and directing two of them. He was one of the leaders of the Jewish Community in Istanbul and had many responsibilities ranging from organizing camps and events to training future leaders for the community. He also wrote film reviews for many different school magazines, created content for different Youtube channels, and hosted a weekly podcast show. He would like to study film at Brandeis and produce his own movies someday in the future.

Robert Lozniceru

Photo of RobertCountry: Romania/Germany
Class: 2025
Major: Undeclared

Robert is originally from Borumlaca, Romania but emigrated to Germany at the age of 10, where he attended the Janusz Korczak Gesamtschule in Gutersloh. Robert began providing translation services to the Romanian-immigrant community in the Gutersloh area at the age of 13. Among other services, Robert helped many in the Romanian-immigrant community secure health care, pay taxes, and obtain better housing, jobs, and social services. In one case, Robert even translated on behalf of a young pregnant woman as she went into labor. Before attending Brandeis, Robert took two gap years, during which he worked as an au pair for two young children in the Boston area. The pandemic made Robert keenly aware of the need to help children build emotional resilience during times of great stress. Drawing inspiration from his childhood growing up on a farm in the Carpathian mountains, Robert helped the children in his care foster a close relationship with the natural world on countless nature walks around New England. Already very interested in biology and forest ecology, Robert realized his true passion was to join the fight against climate change and habitat loss. At Brandeis, Robert hopes to build a strong foundation for continuing his work fighting for social justice and environmental protection.

Sherren Jielita

Photo of Sherren Jielita

Country: Indonesia
Class: 2026
Major: Undeclared

Sherren is from a small island in Indonesia called Tarakan. Growing up in an isolated area, she has always been curious about many things, especially: "How is the world outside?" That single question was the main reason she lived in 3 different cities in Malaysia on her own. Sherren has lived in Malaysia since she was 12 years old. Tawau, Penang and Kuala Lumpur were also memorable cities for her. She loves to meet new people in her free time, especially when volunteering. Sherren thinks that every place and everyone has a meaningful story. She is exploring places for that story!

Sherren cares about education inequality in Indonesia. In Kalimantan, where she is from, she experienced an underdeveloped education system. Sherren tutored students who needed help, especially during the pandemic. She loves science and wants her friends back home to feel its beauty too. Sherren hopes to contribute to improving access to education in rural areas of Indonesia in the future, especially in the field of Science. With her interest in Science, she also wants to contribute to improving the healthcare system in Indonesia. She is planning to major in Biochemistry at Brandeis.

Simbarashe Gwendere

Photo of SimbaCountry: Zimbabwe
Class: 2025
Major: Undeclared

Simbarashe is a member of African Leadership Academy’s (ALA) 2019 graduating class. While at ALA, Simbarashe developed and exhibited his leadership traits through engaging in most of the academy’s activities. His engagements culminated in him being appointed as the chief finance officer of a student-run enterprise that designed and sold school-branded merchandise. As the CFO he seized the opportunity and spearheaded a strategy aimed at providing branding services for students’ pre-existing merchandise to drive profit margins. Simba also started a fruit selling business in Zimbabwe after identifying a gap between the market’s demand and supply of a local wild fruit which furthered his interest in pursuing business. He desires to work and contribute to the finance sector and philanthropy work. Simba enjoys reading business books, cooking, swimming, and traveling.

Aamna Tirmazi

Selfie of Aamna

Country: Pakistan
Class Year: 2027
Majors: Undeclared

Aamna was born in Pakistan and moved to Oman when she was 9 years old. She grew up in a small town with a lot of cats, pigeons and tea shops. She was homeschooled throughout high school during the pandemic. This inspired her to devote more time to her creative endeavours and activism. Having always enjoyed writing, she started using her storytelling to journal the experiences of women around her who she felt didn’t get much media coverage and deserved a voice. She started a book club for young girls and women to inspire them to read books because she felt the STEM-focused education system didn’t teach them much about their own rights, bodies and history which was crucial knowledge. She has a wide array of interests including history, politics, arts, science and literature. She loves anything that tells a story and enjoys being creative. Her favourite animals are cats.

Thabang Matona

Picture of THabang MaudelapCountry: South Africa
Class: 2024
Major: Health: Science, Society and Policy

Thabang is a South African graduate of the African Leadership Academy (ALA). At the ALA, he served as a Committee Chairperson for the ALA Model African Union, an organizer and facilitator of Build In A Box camps and the Logistics Intern for the South African Ideas Festival. All these programs are geared towards bringing young people from all over the African continent together to discuss what role they have in solving Africa's most pressing challenges. He also served as a Residential Assistant. He seasonally works as a workshop facilitator for enke Make Your Mark, an organisation which exists to reverse negative trends that affect young people all over South Africa by developing agents of social responsibility, innovation, and entrepreneurship. His greatest interest, however, lies in the improvement of healthcare access for underprivileged people. He has worked as a Peer Promoter for the South African National Blood Services and conducted research on enhancing medical tourism for Pan-African development. At Brandeis he is interested in studying Health: Science, Society and Policy and he hopes to use the skills that he will learn to become an advocate for healthcare access when he returns home.

Vincent Jared

 Vincent standing outside with sunglasses on

Country: Kenya
Class: 2027
Major: Undeclared

Vincent was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. He attended Kanga High School in Kenya and graduated in April 2022. He is passionate about community development and is keen to address some of the challenges in his community. Before college, Vincent interned at Education For All Children in Nairobi, where he had the opportunity to mentor young EFAC scholars on study habits and general life skills. During the internship, he gained valuable information in finance and technology, sparking his interest in these fields. As a KenSAP scholar, he worked with three other scholars from his class to co-found Kataa, a project aimed at addressing drug abuse in slum areas. They raised awareness of drug abuse in these areas, conducted outreach programs, and enrolled addicts in the KenSAP partner rehabilitation centers.

Vivek Gautham Hein

Photo of Vivek Gautham Hein

Country: Myanmar/Burma
Class: 2026
Major: Undeclared

Deep in the tail of Shan State Mogok, Myanmar, Kyaw Zin, was born into a Gurkha community. Being Gurkha, he was given a name that was unusual and unheard of anywhere except within his own Nepali community. He was blessed with the name “Vivek.” During high school, Vivek was involved in community service for years and held a position as a nurse in his dad’s hospital. He helped patients during Covid. When the military again seized control over Burma, Vivek was an active citizen standing against the coup, expressing dissatisfaction with the current situation and demanding social, political, and economic changes.
Zahira Ramirez Caceres

Zahira standing in front of a brick wallCountry: Paraguay
Class: 2027
Major: Undeclared

Zahira was born and raised in Paraguay. She was a part of the “Youth Ambassadors” Program, sponsored by the US Department of State. This was her first exposure to opportunities to study abroad for international students in the United States. As a young and active changemaker with experience in international platforms and close connection with educational activists, Zahira started to involve herself in regional and international spaces where she learned about different perspectives and cultural backgrounds. Her involvement with a diverse group of young people facing their own realities and overcoming their adversities through concrete actions, inspired her to implement key solutions to local living issues in Paraguay regarding inequality in access to education and gender disparities.

This inspired her to start her own initiative, Arandu Jere—Circle of Wisdom, a space for children and teenagers to socially engage through cultural and civic sensitive approaches. At Arandu Jere, Zahira and volunteers provided a safe space for the discovery and development of interests, and artistic and linguistic skills, without considering socio-economic limitations. Specifically, she focused on working with vulnerable communities located in the surroundings of Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city. The projects’ main goal was to implement a more holistic approach to the national curriculum while allowing their students to think independently. Furthermore, Zahira has been chosen to participate in the first cohort of the Undergraduate International Relations and Foreign Policy Initiative Program implemented by Harvard University. Zahira was selected as one of the first Paraguayans in the program and she got to be named as one of the ambassadors of it and also to promote it among her peers in her community. She learned from top Global and US political leaders. 

Besides that, she got to teach English in the first community institution implemented in her hometown, Capiata. This institution was established by her and her mother with the goal of making English language classes more accessible for low-income students.

At Brandeis, she hopes to further explore her interests in the Economics major field. She aspires to use the tools acquired there as a getaway to continue providing opportunities to end education disparities in her surroundings.