Agaba Nassi Bisengo
Agaba Nassi Bisengo was born in Congo-Kinshasa and was raised by her grandmother in Ugandan refugee camps. "My grandmother and I had to move several times to survive the hardship of the refugee camp life." One such move brought the pair to Rwanda shortly after the Rwandan genocide. A year and a half later, in May 1996, thirteen-year-old Agaba moved from Rwanda to the United States. "Moving to the US not only marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life, but also gave me a number of valuable opportunities. For the first time in my life, I was able to be a citizen of a country. I also had the stability to pursue an education."
Agaba's American education began in the seventh grade. She not only discovered a deep love of learning, but also found that she was quite successful in the academic environment. "I was able to finish my middle school and high school studies with honors." After high school, Agaba decided to continue her education, and in May 2006 she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a minor in Economics, from Messiah College.
With an undergraduate degree in hand, Agaba wanted to continue and earn a graduate degree, but she simply did not have the financial means to do so. She began researching scholarships and kept looking until she found the Project Working Mom Scholarship. "To win the scholarship, I had to write a one-page essay that described my past story, and my present and future goals. I submitted my application, and six months later I received an invitation to be on the Tyra Banks Show. On the show, I learned that I had won a full-tuition scholarship toward a Master's degree at Ashford University, including books. It was an amazing experience! I am forever grateful that I was chosen. Ashford exceeded my expectations."
Like most adult learners, Agaba also initially struggled to balance school and her busy life, but she soon found her stride. "By the second class, I had organized myself and my priorities. I came to think of myself as a superwoman because before I thought I couldn't manage it all. Some credit goes to my husband because he helped around the house more often, and my son kept me inspired. I want him to know he can do anything he puts his mind to."
In October 2010, Agaba graduated with her Master of Business Administration, Organizational Leadership specialization. Today, she lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband and three-year-old son, Mihigo. She works part-time at Nyack College, and is applying for full-time jobs. She hopes to begin a career at an International Development Organization or in the field of US Foreign Affairs.
To prospective students, Agaba offers encouragement. "Ashford is affordable and the workload is manageable; it is possible to achieve the dream that has been burning in your heart. This school helped bring my dream to life and it can do the same for you. Education is the key to a better life."