From Togo to BCC to Stanford in Three Years
Zouberou Sayibou is the paradigm of what can be achieved with an education at Bronx Community College. Arriving in the Bronx from the West African nation of Togo in 2018, he was soon working on his High School Equivalency diploma at BCC’s Future Now program. In the fall of 2019, he entered BCC as a Computer Sciences major, graduating with honors this spring. Now he is preparing to enter California’s prestigious Stanford University, one of six colleges that accepted him.
“Coming from a community where computers and the internet are scarce, I had to adapt and learn from limited resources, taking advantage of all opportunities around me,” says Zouberou. “At BCC, I took honors courses in math and computer science. I enrolled in free classes at New York University’s Artificial Intelligence school and Coursera certificate program during my summer and winter breaks.” This summer he is a research intern for the Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System at Princeton University. Working remotely, he is studying the periodic warming of the Pacific known as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation.
Like many successful BCC students, Zouberou was active in the life of the College. He served in the Student Government Association (SGA) and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Muslim Student Association. He also tutored other students.
Zouberou credits many people and programs at BCC for his success: Elizabeth Payamps, Director of Future Now; Tiffany Dubon, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and SGA adviser; and Felicita Reynoso, his adviser at Pathway to STEM Success. A Kaplan Leadership Scholar, Zouberou says of the program “They invest themselves in your future dreams.”
“As a first-generation college student, I did not have anyone to encourage my desire to pursue STEM studies during high school. I look forward to empowering underrepresented middle and high school students to pursue STEM disciplines.”
Zouberou ultimately plans to earn a Ph.D. and use his talents in the cause of world health. “I am confident that data science holds the key to addressing health care inequality in developing nations.” As he prepares to take the next step toward that future, what he values most about his BCC years is “the community. Everyone seems to pop up and help you. I see BCC like a big home.”