Agathe Muhiya Mwehu, USAP Class of 2018, has been awarded a prestigious Watson Fellowship. Agathe, who originally comes from the DRC and was living as a refugee in Zimbabwe when she joined USAP, is graduating from Wheaton College in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Business Management. Her passion and dedication towards improving the quality of education for fellow refugee youth at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, is what led to her funding and building a youth centre for Together We Can Educationally Empower Non-privileged Students (TWEENS), a tutoring program started by USAP students in the camp. In 2020, Agathe won a Project for Peace prize using her amazing project titled “They Can’t Take My Future”. The award, a US$10,000 grant, was used to refurbish and furnish an abandoned building at the camp for TWEENS, an educational, information and recreation centre for high school students and graduates. TWEENS continues to be run by refugee youth for refugee youth.
Agathe is proud to be a member of the 55th class of Thomas J. Watson Fellows. The Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for purposeful, independent exploration outside the United States, awarded to graduating seniors nominated by one of 41 highly selective colleges in the United States. Agathe’s fellowship research topic, “Finding Hope: Stories of Survival” will see her traveling to Rwanda, Kenya, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom, as well as potentially more countries as she experiences and researches throughout the year.
“My Watson research project is based on the idea of healing: “How do people heal from trauma through sharing of of their stories?” As a Watson Fellow, I will to explore big questions – How do people cope with different types of trauma? How can traumatic experiences best be shared to help individuals find healing and hope? I believe that sharing can help people deal with trauma. Sharing trauma can be overwhelming, causing anxiety and discomfort. However, that sharing provides an opportunity for one to find relief and leads to some measure of resolution.”
As Agathe finishes her final semester at Wheaton College, she is excited for what’s to come. She has great dreams for the future that involve making her mark and changing the world.
“After I graduate in May, I am excited to start my Watson year of self-discovery! I am grateful to able to travel to all of these countries, to be able to talk to people who have had the same experiences as me and be able to share with each other how we move on and find some resolution, and how we help others to do the same. After I finish the Watson, I plan to continue with my education at graduate school to continue to equip me to be a changemaker.”
We applaud Agathe, the impact she has already made as a USAP alum, and are excited to watch her next chapter unfold.