Even as a child, Dr. Angelique Nyinawabera ’13 asked a lot of questions.
“I drove my mom crazy, and I had so many time outs. Not all of the questions were relevant or necessary, but I asked them anyway,” she says.
The questions continued when she came to Wofford as a Rwandan Presidential Scholar. “I hardly spoke English, and I had to make sure I understood things because of the language barrier. I attributed the questions to that, but it also had to do with my nature.”
Now a research scientist with a pharmaceutical company in Boston, Mass., she’s paid to ask questions and find answers.
Nyinawabera’s primary work is in cancer drug development. Regardless of the disease, Nyinawabera’s responsibilities include developing bioanalytical methods robust enough to detect, measure and quantify drug content from biological samples. She also gets to be part of a team that trains interns and new hires. She enjoys the work and her coworkers, and she feels fulfilled knowing that she’s a part of scientific research that will save lives.
“I want to study and understand terminal diseases and help develop cures. That’s what motivates me the most,” she says.
Nyinawabera returned to Wofford in October when she was in the area for a friend’s wedding. She dropped by the college, saw a few professors and spent some time with Sara Milani, international programs advisor. Milani, who drove to Arkansas to pick up Nyinawabera after her Rwandan Presidential Scholar language training, was the first Wofford person she met. The two have remained in touch ever since.
Nyinawabera still uses a Wofford cup from her first year in college. Her apartment has Wofford memorabilia, and she frequently wears Wofford gear. She receives lots of good-natured ribbing because of it.
“I just have a big spirit and love of Wofford,” says Nyinawabera. “Wofford molded and shaped me. It’s my home in the U.S. because that’s where I learned English and met people who became family to me. Everything I am is thanks to Wofford.”
by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89