Sisters share appreciation for a long-running program of support in L&S

Clementine Uwabera’s experience at UW was shaped by her participation in the Academic Advancement Program. Just a few years later, her sister Ada Umubera had a similar journey through the program’s new iteration, the Center for Academic Excellence.

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CAE.Sisters_Feature_200x300.jpg#asset:35Where are you from and what brought you to UW?

AU: I was born in Butare, Rwanda. My family and I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, in the fall of 1996 following the Rwandan genocide. We ended up staying in Wisconsin and I eventually went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall of 2011 on a full-tuition scholarship from the PEOPLE Program. I majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing and had a pre-medicine background/minor.

CU: I attended the university in 2006 and graduated in 2010. I have a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and a certificate in African Studies.

What career path have you chosen?

CU: I graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in 2013. I am a practicing criminal defense attorney in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida in Orlando. 

AU: Following graduation, I did a year of service with AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps Program in upstate New York. After completing my year of service, I relocated and continued to work for the community health center branch I volunteered with as a care navigator in New York City. I am currently applying to graduate school and hope to hear back soon.

What were the best or most significant experiences you had as a part of AAP or CAE?

CU: I had the opportunity to serve as an Academic Advancement Program peer mentor. AAP offered me so many academic resources on campus, I was happy to use what I learned to assist incoming freshmen.

AU: I was a peer mentor for first-year CAE students. It was an honor to watch my students transition from high school to college and gain confidence in their personal and intellectual endeavors. I enjoyed guiding them throughout their journey and being their advocate in times of need.

How did AAP or CAE help you?

CU: AAP armed me with the tools necessary to succeed at UW. I was provided with a great academic advisor who assisted me in planning my academic career and in applying to law schools and scholarships. She walked me through the application process and wrote excellent letters of recommendations on my behalf. I also met and made great friends through the program.

AU: My second year of undergrad was very difficult for me. Due to academic, financial and personal hardships, I felt like giving up and dropping out of school. Thankfully, I had an amazing and phenomenal mentor, Abike Sanyaolu, who empowered me and helped me find my balance. Without her, and the many other supportive staff and scholars in my cohort, I am not sure if I would have successfully navigated that period in my life. I am forever grateful.  

Read more about the history and impact of the Academic Advancement Program and Center for Academic Excellence here.