SNHU GEM Graduate Spotlight: Alexia Umugwaneza

Alexia Umugwaneza

Alexia Umugwaneza, recent SNHU GEM and JRS Kenya graduate, plans to use her degree to become a “voice for the voiceless.”

At the Fall Commencement ceremonies, hundreds of new graduates from Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (SNHU GEM) celebrated earning their degrees and taking their first steps into the global workforce. Alexia Umugwaneza, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and graduate of the SNHU GEM Class of 2023, spoke about her experience and goals for the future in the latest edition of SNHU’s Impact Magazine.

Alexia relocated to Kenya from the DRC to escape the country’s civil war with her family, and was ecstatic to earn an associate degree in General Studies from SNHU GEM and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Kenya. She is now working towards her bachelor’s degree in Communications with a concentration in Business.

Alexia’s goal is to become an advocate for displaced people – “a voice for the voiceless” who reminds international decisionmakers of an important truth: “That refugees are also human beings; that refugees can have access to education, and equal rights.”

Alexia was the first person in her family to pursue higher education. After she completed high school, Alexia’s father was eager for her to continue her studies – however, with six other children at home, her family did not have the funds to support her education. Earning a scholarship to attend SNHU GEM and JRS Kenya provided a path forward for Alexia to become an advocate for refugees around the world. 

Today, Alexia works as a program assistant for a non-government organization in South Sudan – a position she was offered prior to graduation. She credits her ability to succeed in the role to the practical experience she gained through her studies at SNHU GEM.

Earning a U.S.-accredited degree from SNHU GEM opens vital pathways to employment and self-determination for refugee learners like Alexia. Too often, learners displaced from their homes by war, climate change, and other conflicts face barriers that prevent them from learning or working in their host communities. Providing access to education levels the playing field immensely, and we are proud to provide refugee learners worldwide with the support and opportunities they need to pursue brighter, more secure lives.

Watch the video to hear Alexia describe her higher education journey in her own words.