June 24, 2020
Both of the post-graduation options Santita Ebangwese ’19 G’20 was considering would be a dream come true for most people. Would she rather play professional volleyball in Europe or go to medical school?
During her incredible career at Syracuse Ebangwese was an All-American Volleyball player, a University Scholar, a member of the Renee Crown University Honors Program, an accomplished researcher, the 2018 ACC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a four-time ACC All-Academic Team selection, played for the SU women’s soccer team, completed her bioengineering bachelor’s degree and finished her master’s degree in the spring of 2020.
Even with all her accolades, Ebangwese wanted to gain even more experimental training and wanted to have a chance to study abroad. Even with her busy volleyball schedule as an undergraduate student, she was able to take part in a six-week Syracuse Abroad summer trip to Strasbourg, France, where she completed an engineering internship at the National Institute for Applied Sciences (INSA). Ebangwese minored in French and could speak the language in conversation. After an advisor recommended she look into the Fulbright Scholar Program and opportunities in France.
“She told me, you need to keep speaking French if you want to become fluent,” said Ebangwese.
Ebangwese was intrigued and decided to apply in the fall of 2019. Even with incredible options on the table, the chance to be a Fulbright Scholar was something she wanted to pursue. She also knew the odds were tough. Only about 20% of Fulbright Scholarship applicants are accepted.
“I want to be the best I can be, no matter what obstacle is in my way,” said Ebangwese.
In late February, Ebangwese received an update from the Fulbright Student Program about her application. At first she thought it was just a processing update but then she noticed it said “Your Status Has Changed.” When she read through it again she saw she had been accepted.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was excited, I talked to my friends, my mentors,” said Ebangwese.
Ebangwese will be completing a master’s degree in Life Science and Health at the Universite of Paris-Saclay. She plans to focus on tissue cells and gene biotherapy research and believes everything she has done so far has prepared her for this opportunity.
“In the end I still want to go to med school, but right now this is an incredible experience to have,” said Ebangwese.