Foreign Languages and Cultures – Outstanding Senior 2020

Vanessa Giramata.Vanessa Giramata

Kicukiro, Kigali, Rwanda


  • Major in Foreign Languages and Cultures, French for the Professions
  • Bachelor of Science in Economics

Clubs, Organizations, Leadership, and Service

  • Economics Club
  • International Development Club
  • WSU French Club – co-founder
  • College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences – Student Ambassador
  • Honors College – Student Ambassador
  • Honors College – Student Mentor
  • French Club – President
  • Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resource, and Related Sciences
  • Facilitated two sections of French language for beginners
  • Honors “First Year Experience” – facilitator
  • Western Regional Honors Conference. Mindfulness: A Way to Increase Connection and a Sense of Belonging – presenter

Internships and Employment

  • Introduction to Econometrics – teaching assistant

Undergraduate Research

  • PPIA Junior Summer Institute, Princeton University: Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Pennsylvania

Awards and Recognition

  • 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Senior in Foreign Languages and Cultures
  • Howard G. Buffet Scholarship
  • Outstanding Junior in Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, 2019
  • Freddye T. Davy Award for Excellence by the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2019
  • Emerging Leader in Agriculture by CAHNRS, 2018
  • Schwarzman Scholar finalist, 2019

Personal Statement

Attending WSU has been a great experience that I am grateful to God for. I was able to learn from professors who are very knowledgeable about their fields and who genuinely care about the success of their students. Through many opportunities I received here at WSU, like being a student ambassador, facilitating classes, attending, and running clubs, attending, and presenting at different conferences, I have been able to grow intellectually and professionally. As my time at WSU comes to an end, I am thankful for the opportunity to receive a good education, for great friendships, for support and a home away from home. GO Cougs!

Honored Faculty and Mentors

  • Sabine Davis, clinical professor, School of Languages, Cultures, and Race
  • Vicki McCracken, professor, School of Economic Sciences
  • Robin Bond, assistant dean, WSU Honors College

Future Plans

Vanessa’s next goal is to attend graduate school to study international development.  She hopes to one day do policy projects for Rwanda, then to work with other African leaders to find projects to improve the lives of all Africans. Eventually, she would like to become a professor.