December 29, 2011

Student Profile: Rose Twagirumukiza

I moved in earlier than the rest of freshmen at Lake Forest College because I was participating in a program called “First Connection”, designed to help students who are first generation, international, and GBLT adjust to campus life before freshman orientation. Moving in was very exciting. Thanks to the program, I quickly made a lot of friends, and when freshman orientation began, I was prepared for college life.  When school finally started, I was signed up for four classes: Intro to Global Politics, Spanish, Linguistics, and my first year study, which is a writing class that all freshmen are required to take. I loved all my classes and became close with most of my professors. I also loved my hall, which is in an all girl dormitory.  Wehad activities organized by our RAs, such as mehndi night where we got to have our hands and feet decorated with henna. I was placed with an amazing roommate. As a transfer student, she helped me adjust even more because she was more experienced about college. She helped me plan my hours so I am more efficient. We made a schedule that works for both of us regarding sleep and study time. The school is very good at planning activities.  We had comedians, singers, speakers and others come to campus. On Fridays, there were ACPs, which are all campus parties organized by the school, and these were great for meeting new people. I also joined the cross-country team and made more friends.  Though cross-country was harder than in high school, I had so much fun and made it to Regional. Overall my first couple months in college were great, and I had an amazing beginning at Lake Forest College.


December 26, 2011

I’ve recently passed the halfway point of my first quarter at Stanford University and the experience has been incredible so far! The amount of opportunities to learn about anything, try new things, and meet new people on campus make for a unique environment in which I feel confident that I will achieve my goals during my 4 years here. Moving here from Chicago was a smooth process. My parents flew here with me and helped me move into my dorm room. The room is a double with a bed, desk, and dresser on either side of the room. My roommate is from Potomac, MD and is a potential math major. My dorm is an all freshmen dorm. The other possible living situation for freshmen is to live in a 4-year dorm, half of which is composed of freshmen residents. The other half is composed of students from sophomore year and above. College life is fun and it’s quite a learning experience. I had to learn quickly to be completely responsible while I’m here. I have a lot of support around me, but I am still solely responsible for my assignments and duties, scheduling and attending meetings, and managing my time. I am satisfied with how I am handling these things so far, but I still want to improve my time management skills, especially because things move so fast here. The entire experience is going by faster than I ever thought it would. I expected that the difference between the quarter system and semester system would be noticeable, but it has proved to be much more than that. I am learning to enjoy the quick pace because there’s no chance of getting tired of the classes I’m taking. The pace is also teaching me to stay ahead of my work because there isn’t much time to catch up if I fall behind.

I’m planning on majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. The classes I’m taking this quarter are Math 42A, CS 106A, IHUM 58, a golf class, and MS&E 472. Math 42A is equivalent to a second level Calculus course. The “A” indicates that I get an extra unit for the class and extra weekly discussion and instruction. CS 106A is an introductory computer science class and I’m learning to program in the Java language. IHUM stands from “Introduction to Humanities” and every freshman is required to take one of the courses offered in this category. I take IHUM 58, which is “Technological Visions of Utopia”. It is a very interesting course. Readings include George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. MS&E 472 is a weekly entrepreneurial seminar. Entrepreneurs from around the area come to Stanford to talk about how they built their companies and answer any questions from the audience. In addition to classes, I am a freshman intern for the Society of Black Scientist and Engineers and I take a Muay Thai class, which is a martial art from Thailand. Depending on my workload for next quarter, I may get involved with more organizations. There is a great sense of freedom on campus in that I can join any organization and take any class I like. This results in an extreme level of flexibility in my plans at Stanford because I can be exposed to so many different things. With an open and determined mind, I know that I will find what interests me and leverage that interest to find success.


December 21, 2011

Student Spotlight: James Brown

My time at Bowling Green State University has been amazing so far. There is so much to do as a college student socially, educationally and athletically. Sadly, I don’t have much me time as a college student because I’m a student athlete playing football for BGSU. Our schedule is very busy, with practice, conditioning, lifting, etc. I feel like I have two full time jobs, studying for classes and practicing for football. I don’t really have time for extra on campus activities because of football and classes , but when I walk by them they seem pretty exciting. There’s something for everyone and a lot of students who participate in them like my roommate. His name is Romond and he’s pretty cool. We are on good terms and can relate to a lot of same things. He doesn’t play a sport so he’s able to be more socially active and participate in the on campus activities.

Our move in day was really busy and annoying, because I live on the 4the floor and all the elevators were busy and crowded. It was a hassle getting my things to my room, as it was for everyone else but with a little patience I got it done. My fall classes are really exciting, I am learning new things as well as comparing thoughts with my peers. I have met a lot of new people from many other states since being at BGSU. It is interesting to see the similarities and the differences in all of us. Overall, my college experience has been great and I have enjoyed it this semester. I am looking forward to moving forward and continuing on to learn and gain new experiences.

December 7, 2011

Student Spotlight: Kelli Rhem

Kelli Rhem:  Freshman, University of Illinois at Chicago


The transition from high school to college is a big one. There are so many aspects of college life that many aren’t used to. That’s why it’s good to try and prepare yourself mentally for that transition. This transition was somewhat a challenge for me, seeing how there were so many things I was not aware of or used to. A major problem for me was time management. In high school, you may finish a chapter in about a week and a half or two weeks. Well, in college, the curriculum is bunched into one semester and the classes don’t meet on a daily basis, therefore a chapter is finished after two or three days of class. I was given huge assignments and not a lot of time to get them complete so I had to plan out and make sure I finished it without neglecting my other classes. Of course, the first week of school the professors are slightly more understanding, seeing how we’re first year students.

Another issue I came across was the teaching style. In high school, there are no more than 26 students in a classroom. At one point I was in a class with about 299 other students, and one professor. The problem with that is the higher the student teacher ratio, the less one-on-one attention you have with the professor.  Now, most of my classes were lecture halls. In lecture halls there are anywhere from 50-300 students and one professor who stands in front of the class and talks during the whole period. This was somewhat of a problem for me. Going to these lectures made me realize the type of learner I am, a hands on learner. It’s very hard for me to grasp the concept without being engaged. With that being said, I began to struggle in some of my classes, so I did what any smart college student would do; I went and met with my advisor. I was enrolled in four courses, however my advisor suggested I drop the elective and focus on my other classes. Not only did I take her advice but I also looked for on campus resources.


I joined this program called TRIO which is an academic support program and began seeing a tutor a couple times a week. After a week or so I noticed improvement in the courses I wasn’t doing well in. Now, making friends was a separate issue. I came in to college with friends, some who attend the same university as me and some who don’t. I only made about 4 friends this semester, but then again it’s just the beginning and you don’t really need a lot of friends. So the whole making friends issue didn’t really affect me.  Overall, I’ve had an interesting experience in my first semester of college. I feel that this experience has better prepared me for next semester, because now I’m more familiar with how things work and what I need to do to maintain good grades. My advice to incoming college freshman: take advantage of all the resources available because they will definitely benefit you in the long run.


November 15, 2011

LAMAS Foundation 2011 – 2012 Scholars

The Lovie and MaryAnne Smith Foundation would like to congratulate our 2011 – 2012 scholarship recipients.


  • Malika Anderson (Emory University)
  • James Brown (Bowling Green State University)
  • Jacqueline Barrera (College of Lake County)
  • Dylan Johnson (College of Lake County)
  • Kelli Rhem (UIC)
  • Zachary Stuart (Stanford University)
  • Rose Twagirumukiza (Lake Forest College)
Please check back soon for updates on our students’ first semester at college!
December 27, 2010

End of Semester Wrap Up (IV)

Today’s entry comes from Nakeba Johnson, a freshman at Purdue University.

This semester has truly been an experience in itself. I have gained a sense of independence that I did not have in high school and a greater appreciation for my education. I think this is the best part about college. This semester has brought about a whirlwind of emotions from stress, to sadness, to happiness and sometime all those emotions at once. I have learned that college is more then what they show you on the television, it is a lifestyle.

I think college is a challenge but if you are proactive you are able to handle all the challenges that are thrown at you.  I have had to use my time management skills from high school to balance class time, studying, new leadership positions on campus, extracurricular activities, homework, and sleep.  College has made me become a better student because it has helped me recognize my flaws and weaknesses and not feel that I could not ask for help. College makes you see that students who ask questions are usually the ones who get good grades. Since I am an engineering major there are many classes that I am taking this semester that many students drop or flunk out, know as the “weed-out-classes”. I have heard many stories about weed out classes being the hardest to try to prevent people from continuing in such hard majors. However, I have stuck with all my classes, it has not been easy but I am proud to say I am doing well in them. When I first arrived on campus I heard how hard my Chemistry and Calculus courses would be, so I decided to get a tutor in both subjects before I started to struggle. I think this is one of the reasons I have been able to stay ahead of the game, and not fall behind.

College exams are also extremely different from high school. I am use to having a week of sit in exams, the intense work load and the massive amount of studying but college exams just leave you with a different feeling. When I take college exams I feel like there is more on the line that it is not just about grades, but about my future.  So as I prepare for finals I am just making sure I study when ever I have down time, ask questions, and make it to all my tutoring sessions to be sure I know the material, It is also vital that you go to class because this it is easy to just not go in college, and I know many people who are struggling for these reasons.

I have 17 days until I can officially say goodbye to my first semester of college. I will be an official second semester coed. I am extremely excited about winter break because it will be an award for such a productive first semester full of hard work. I do not have any big plans but I know whatever I do over break it will involve spending time with family, seeing  friends, and everyone who has helped me through this semester to tell them about my semester, and show them far  “we” have come.


December 23, 2010

End of Semester Wrap Up (II)

Today’s entry comes from Jessica Williams, a freshman at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

I just can’t believe that my first semester of college is almost over! The days just flew by for me. That’s because I have been so busy and we all know that time flies when you are having fun.  My first semester has been great. I have met and gotten to know so many of my peers and professors. In addition, Howard provides its students with an exceptional network of professionals and potential mentors.  No matter where you are, you have a chance of bumping onto an important person who can offer you a great opportunity. This very true — it has happened to me on several occasions!

Not only has college expanded my network, but it has also challenged my critical thought and helped me learn more about myself. College really makes you reinforce or reevaluate your habits. I have learned how I respond to certain situations and how I study and organize my time.  I have adjusted to this new environment of my school and my residence being in the exact same place.  I have certain organizations that I take part in, and I have also helped start one as well. I am on the Executive Board of Howards’s very first natural hair club! We had our first general body meeting on the November 20th, and it was a huge success.  We had a full room of ladies of all ages who were enthusiastic about the club. This club is a support network for girls who are trying to or are already wearing their hair natural. We have a lot planned for next semester and I am very excited!

Right now, I have a series of finals and departmental exams lined up, as well as a portfolio, paper and two lab practicums. I have been reviewing past material as well as covering new material for my upcoming exams. Tests and exams are probably my least favorite part of college. The assessments are very overwhelming and they require you to dig up everything you have ever learned during the semester. These next few weeks are going to probably be the most challenging, but I know I will get through. Soon, the semester will be over and I will be returning to Chicago for winter break. I will be thrilled to see my friends and family over the break—And even more excited to just RELAX! I will also use my break as an opportunity to shadow doctors and apply for research programs for the summer. It is always important to keep looking forward!

December 14, 2010

End of Semester Wrap Up

Happy Holidays from the Lovie and MaryAnne Smith Foundation!

To celebrate the holiday season, we will be featuring a scholar each day who will tell us about their first semester, holiday break plans, and final thoughts on the first half of the first year.

First up… Dujon Smith at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California!

As finals are approaching and the holiday times are near, I know that first semester is coming to a close. This has been an amazing semester. I have really enjoyed my time her at Pepperdine thus far. Classes have been a bit more challenging and demanding in a different manner than high school, but I am learning to manage. Throughout this semester I have really put my skill of time management to the test. With trying to balance school work, work at the Law School, extra circulars, and my fraternity commitments it has been quite the experience.  Looking back on what has happened here so far I know that Pepperdine was definitely the right choice for me.  I love the people and the close nit community feeling that seems to be shown here. At Pepperdine, many students study abroad for their sophomore year to go to various places around the world for a semester or two. So during first semester of your freshman year happens to be the time to apply for the programs. At first it is a little stressful trying to complete your application by the deadline and picking the program that you want to apply to.  Well after the application submission, interviews, and talking with many staff members in the office I applied for Shanghai for my whole sophomore year and Fiji for a medical mission this summer for a couple of weeks. After a month of waiting I got my decisions letters from both programs saying that I was admitted.  I was elated! I was jumping up and down at the thought of travel the world again. Not to mention as a part of the Pepperdine Concert Choir I got another opportunity to travel to Prague in the Czech Republic for a huge choral festival this summer. With just being at Pepperdine for a few months and being afforded all of these opportunities make me feel truly blessed. With one of my passions in life being music I am really happy to say that I have been able to participate in the Gospel choir as well as the school’s concert choir. I have learned so much from my choir directors that will help to grow and become a better musician. The various styles of music we sing are all added to my repertoire and I feel that I have a diverse background it types of musical pieces I know.  One of my favorite parts of this semester has been my involvement with my fraternity. The time spent with these guys has just been great. It is a like a family of people all working to improve themselves and others.  In going through my Sigma Process in this fraternity, which is the Balanced Man program, has taught me many skills to become a better man. It has taught me how to deal with the rough parts of life and move past them. With their high principles in virtue, diligence, and brotherly love and Sig Ep constantly setting themselves to higher standard I knew that this fraternity was different than all the rest and a place for me to be. In a couple weeks I will be having my exams. I will have a Chinese, English, Intercultural Leadership, Macroeconomics, and Humanities exam.  The main thing I am doing is just reviewing notes and doing assignments given to me to help me study.  Excited for the Chinese Exam to see how much information I have absorbed and most nervous for Macroeconomics because the test are very challenging at times.  When all that is over I will be on my way back to Chicago for the holidays which will be nice, it will feel like last year when I was gone in Vietnam and didn’t come back till Christmas time.

Favorite Part about college:  The opportunities such as study abroad, people and relationships built, location (beauty), and the variety of classes and interesting professors

Least Favorite Part about college: Location as in far from everything and secluded so without a car here it is pretty difficult to get around at times. Food Prices, I can’t believe I have spent $1300 on food already. No meal points left at all. Luckily its thanksgiving, I will bring food back to keep me over till Christmas. (Haha).


December 14, 2010

Meet Natilie!

It seems as if the days have completely flown by. My name is Natilie Williams and I graduated from Percy L. Julian High School, located in Chicago and I now attend Central Michigan University; I plan to major in Integrative Public Relations with a minor in Public Affairs and Sports Studies. Central Michigan University is located in a relatively small-medium size town, Mount Pleasant, Michigan. This area is so different from Chicago and I really like it. I feels good to be able to withdraw from the city life and come to a town where Target and Wal-Mart trips can be the highlight of the week. I have six classes and most of them are pretty interesting. My roommates are amazing people; they both remind me of my family members and  they are encouraging and absolutely hilarious. The hardest thing to deal with is being away from my family; this makes the holidays even more exciting. Overall, college appears to be difficult, but can be a great journey if your goals are always held as one of your top priorities. My awesome support system definitely keeps me grounded and uplifted constantly. I am privileged to have this opportunity to further my education and I promised myself that I would give college my all.

November 16, 2010

Meet Jessica!

Hello! My name is Jessica Williams from Evanston, Illinois. I graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2010 and I now attend the illustrious Howard University in Washington, DC! I can assure you that one can NEVER be bored here! I am a premed/biology major. Therefore, I am taking many science classes such as Biology, Chemistry, and Chemistry Lab. I am also taking English, Freshman Seminar, and French IV. I am all settled in my dorm and I get along well with my roommate, who is also a biology major. I live in a suite, therefore, I have 3 other suitemates and they are great too. By living on the East Coast it is fairly easy to travel from one area to another. I went to New York for a school field trip to see the African Burial Ground and last week I went to John Hopkins in Baltimore for a forum.

There is much to do on campus as well. Homecoming week at Howard has just ended and it has been an unforgettable experience! I attended several events including the Celebrity Basketball Game, an R&B Concert featuring Erykah Badu, and the Step Show. The festivity on the Yard, called International Yardfest, was amazing as well. It featured live music from several famous and up and coming entertainers. There were also vendors selling clothing, jewelry, art and great food. It was also fun to see all of the alumni of Howard so excited when they reunited with friends from their college days. Homecoming next year will probably be even better!

I have taken part in several organizations, but since there is so much to do here, I am still trying to find my niche. For example, I have joined the Health Professions Society and the Biological Society. I also love exploring Washington D.C. because there are so many museums, sites, and events to go to. In addition, the Metro train is very accessible so it is not a hassle to take transportation.

However, despite all of this fun and excitement, I still manage to do the most important thing: maintain good grades. Midterm grades came in and it’s all A’s! Hooray!