Graduate finds strength through her mother

Head shot of Cerise Inganji.

Rwandan student Cerise Inganji considers her mother her biggest inspiration for leaving home to study at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“She’s the person who taught me to be disciplined, to be able to achieve whatever I want,” Inganji said. “She’s a hard worker, and I want to be like her when I grow up.”

Inganji has visited home only twice since starting at UALR, but she still keeps a close connection with her mother in Rwanda.

“She’s there in every single thing I do,” she said.

It’s no surprise Inganji was excited her mother was going to fly to the United States for the first time to watch her graduate with a bachelor’s degree in civil and construction engineering Saturday, May 14, at the Jack Stephens Center.

Inganji is one of several Rwandan students in central Arkansas who earned a degree in construction engineering through a scholarship provided by the Rwandan  government.

With graduation completed, Inganji will start a full-time job as an estimator at CDI Contractors, where she has been interning since January 2015.

After she works a few years, Inganji plans to attend graduate school.

“I’ve absolutely enjoyed my time here,” she said.

A Donaghey Scholar, Inganji is part of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the African Student Association. She is also a member of the Rwandan Student Organization, where she served as president for a year.

In March, Inganji competed in the Planning + Design Student Challenge in San Diego, California, where her team won first place.

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