My name is Danait Yemane and I am a member of cohort V in Rainier Scholars. I am an Eritrean-American, and a first generation college student attending Johns Hopkins University this fall. Both of my parents grew up in the capital of Eritrea, Asmara, and after the war for independence, immigrated to the United States for more opportunities to work, and better education for my siblings and me. I am the oldest in my family, and with that I bear the responsibility of “being the best” in all things academic as well as being a well rounded role model, both culturally and academically, for my younger siblings. My family is my main source of pressure, but unlike the typical negative connotation that is associated with the word pressure, I am grateful for their high expectations. I take my education very seriously because my parents didn’t have the opportunity to pursue higher education in their community, because they grew up in what was and still is an economically developing country. Although both of my parents are qualified for college degrees, they work in laborious jobs that are far from their interests in order to support our large family (both in the United States, and in Eritrea). I have a rigorous work ethic in school because I want to have the ability to choose how my family lives, instead of having market forces make all the choices for us.
Aside from my background, in fifth grade, I joined Rainier Scholars. This program taught my family about opportunities that were available to me and provided me with support from mentors I could rely on. Before R.S., I was trained to be independent and find my own solutions to challenges. Through Rainier Scholars, I learned the importance of collaborating with my teachers and peers. Along with building my character as a student, Rainier Scholars also taught me the value of embracing my heritage. Through courses like Invictus, I learned about the importance of identity. When I graduated from the 14-month academic phase of Rainier Scholars, the guidance and support didn’t disappear. I kept in close contact with my mentors, academic counselors, financial aid advisors, etc and knew that I could rely on these individuals for help with any of my concerns. Rainier Scholars as a program not only challenged me intellectually, but also helped me discover more about who I am and where I will go.
Before going to college, I wanted to make sure that I would be busy during the summer like I have in the past with my previous internships and sports. I applied to WhitePages through the Rainier Scholars internship program and was matched at this site based on my interests. While I am here, I will be working with the Customer Service team on the Mr. Number queue by learning more about the app’s features, conducting tests with certain android phones, and providing support to customers who are having difficulties with the app.
After WhitePages, I hope to pursue degrees in public health and international studies. My goal is to be a doctor (focusing on research and medicine) and I hope that a job like this will provide me with the opportunity to travel and expose myself to more cultures around the world. First, I want to go back to Eritrea and work with my community there by helping to serve and develop the health care system that they have in place now.The reason why I am so passionate about this subject is that I want a job where I can see how the work that I am doing impacts and benefits the lives of others. I want to serve the communities that I feel suffer from injustices that shouldn’t exist in our societies today by providing them with the resources and opportunities to change their lives for the better.