University Community

Commencement Spotlight: Susan Ngbabare

Susan Ngbabare
Patton College of Education
Ph.D. - Higher Education 

What are your next steps or plans for the future?
I am passionate about creating a positive impact on the education sector, both in the US, and in my beloved country, South Sudan. I want to pursue a career in teaching and researching on internationalization, pedagogy, and diversity. Now that I have the tools, I want to dedicate myself to this field to help create more inclusive and equitable learning environments for students from all walks of life.

What memory stands out from your time at OHIO?
The support and guidance provided by faculty and staff at Ohio University was absolutely invaluable, particularly as an African international student trying to navigate the complexities of studying abroad. With their help, I was able to overcome the many challenges that come with adapting to a new culture and educational system, and I was able to thrive both academically and personally.

If you're an international student considering studying at Ohio University, know that you will be surrounded by a caring and supportive community that is committed to your success. With the help of the faculty and staff, you can overcome any challenges you may face and achieve your dreams. So don't hesitate - take the leap and join the vibrant and inclusive academic community at Ohio University today.

Why did you choose OHIO? 
Ohio University stands out as a leader in providing doctoral programs in higher education, offering top-tier coursework and unparalleled research opportunities across a diverse range of specializations. But that's not all – OU is deeply committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, going above and beyond to create a welcoming and inclusive campus environment for all students, including those from Africa. With a wide range of innovative programs and initiatives, Ohio University is dedicated to providing a transformative educational experience that prepares students to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?  
For me, that professor was Laura Harrison. As a first-year doctoral student in her diversity course, Dr. Harrison created a welcoming and inclusive learning environment that made me feel valued and empowered in the classroom. Her unwavering support and encouragement motivated me to reach my full potential and inspired me to become a better student and person.

Similarly, Professor Peter Mather is another exceptional professor who goes above and beyond to support and guide his students. He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in his field, and he generously shares his insights and experiences with his students. I always felt comfortable approaching him for guidance and support, and his approachability and availability made a significant difference in my academic journey.

Having professors like Dr. Harrison and Dr. Mather can make all the difference in a student's academic and personal growth. As a student, having access to such dedicated and supportive faculty members is essential for success. Therefore, I encourage all students to seek out professors who genuinely care about their success and take advantage of the valuable knowledge and guidance they have to offer.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?
Hahaha…no, Jeff Hill too!  As an African international graduate student, the first two semesters of my time at Ohio University were characterized by immense pressure from two fronts: time management and finances. Upon arrival on campus, I was faced with uncertainties and unknowns, not knowing what to expect from the rigorous academic program ahead. To make ends meet, I had to juggle my studies with working long night shifts at the university bakery, the Baker catering, and the dining hall, just to pay for tuition, housing, and bills.

However, despite the overwhelming challenges that I faced, I was able to persevere and succeed through hard work, dedication, and resilience. I learned valuable time management skills that allowed me to balance my studies and work responsibilities effectively. I also sought out various resources and support systems on campus, which helped me navigate the financial pressures that come with being an international graduate student.

Therefore, I would like to encourage other international graduate students who may be facing similar challenges to persevere, seek out support systems, and believe in themselves. With hard work and dedication, you can overcome the challenges and succeed in your academic pursuits, just as I did.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?
Oh, my goodness there is so much to say. OU has a rich history and vibrant culture that fosters unforgettable memories. From the scenic beauty of the campus to the lively social scene, the campus offers numerous experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime. The famous annual Halloween block party, attending sporting events and the marching band, street fair, homecoming, the international dinner, and most importantly, being part of the African Student Union, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife in uptown Athens with undergraduate students partying on a broad Thursday afternoon. 

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?
Overall, my advice for new OU students would be to get involved, stay curious, and make the most of the many opportunities that the campus community has to offer. From student government to sports clubs, service organizations, cultural groups, and academic societies, there's something for everyone to get involved in.

May 3, 2023
Staff reports