University of Charleston

University of Charleston

Profile: Tim Niyogusaba

C/o 2018- Biology Major

Tim Niyogusaba grew up in Rwanda with his parents and three sisters.  He attended an English-speaking high school which helped in the transition to college in the US.  Tim is the second of four children with an older sister, a younger sister also in college in the US, and a younger sister at home in Rwanda attending high school.  He has not been to Rwanda to visit his family since the beginning of the pandemic.  It is difficult, but his parents remain very supportive, as always.

When Tim started researching for high education, he looked for colleges that could offer academic financial aid.  A few schools met his search criteria, the University of Charleston being one of them.

“I thought to myself, ‘If I get a chance to go to college in the US, then I am going to take it,” said Tim. Julie Rogers, a UC recruiter at the time, reached out and helped Tim complete the necessary steps to make UC his destination.  Although Tim had never seen the campus before moving to WV, his future roommate was able to complete a campus visit and filled Tim in on the details.  Tim felt well informed ahead of move-in day and acclimated to campus very quickly.

Tim always knew he wanted to do something in the medical field.  He planned to earn a biology degree with the hopes of medical school to follow.  “One of the best things about the size of UC is that there is a plethora of great mentors. Dr. John Robinson started great conversations with me as early as Freshman year.  The whole biology program was amazing, I would not be here without all their help.  I was challenged at UC, especially my junior and senior years, but I felt very prepared for medical school.”  Tim excelled as a student and earned the “Outstanding Student in Science Research, Biology” award in 2018.

Not only was Tim an outstanding student, he served as an RA for two years, was active with the Student Government Association, and assisted with the football team.  He started in SGA as a Freshman Senator and ended as an Executive Board Member his Senior Year. In his spare time, he loved to read, he remembers conversing about his latest books read with Stacy Gannon and John Adkins in the library.  This is a hobby he continues with today.

Tim enjoyed playing and watching athletic competitions as a UC student.  “The school is so small, that you know everyone, and it makes it more fun to follow the sports,” said Tim.  He became an equipment manager with the football team, another product of UC being a small community, after a run-of-the-mill chat with the football coach at the time, Paul Johnson, at lunch one day. This conversation turned into Tim assisting with the football team on a regular basis and becoming a part of the program for two years.

Tim also re-discovered his love for soccer during his time at UC.  He played on the intramural club on Sundays with Grant Brinson and witnessed the UC soccer team’s journey to two National Championships.  Tim said, “It was neat to be there all three years that the Men’s soccer team went to the National Championships, I had a lot of close friends on the soccer team, and it was a proud moment watching them win.”

The soccer championships and time with SGA memories are topped, however, by his memory of Graduation Day.  He reflected on the sense of accomplishment that day brought. “It was a cloudy day, but we were the first class to graduate in the Innovation Center and it was exciting to have some of my family members here to celebrate with me. It was an amazing feeling to be there with all your friends dressed up in suits and our cap and gowns.”

Tim is now in his third year at Emory University School of Medicine. He is leaning toward a concentration in oncology, which means 3 years of Internal Medicine residency and 3 years of a fellowship still ahead of him after he graduates with his medical degree in 2023.  Although all his pre-clinical classes are operating virtually, he has volunteered some time to conduct Covid-19 testing and administer vaccines.

Tim wishes to send a big “THANK YOU” to all who made his time at UC so special and had a positive impact on his future!