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The College of Arts Sciences

Aboubacar Wague: 'My chemistry professor greatly supported me and taught me how to think critically through problems'

May 17, 2018

Aboubacar Wague

Biological Sciences & Chemistry

Bronx, NY

What is your main extracurricular activity--why is it important to you?

I am an education coordinator for Cornell Education Services for the Incarcerated. Our goal is to help students pass their high school equivalency test and earn their high school diploma. As a student from a high crime rate neighborhood, I found it important to learn how to counteract the problems that come with a lack of education. This organization allowed me to make a positive impact in many people’s lives and I am happy I got the opportunity to see the happiness in people’s lives turning for the better.

What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?

The major turning point of my Cornell career came the middle of my freshman year. I had a rough first semester where I was not performing well in my classes. I felt I did not have the ability to succeed no matter how hard I worked. One day Professor Stephen Lee, who I studied under during my pre-freshman summer, called me into his office and invited me into his new supplemental course for general chemistry because he felt I had potential and wanted to bring it out. He greatly supported me through my spring semester and taught me how to think critically through problems. This extended to my classes outside of the sciences and helped me find my confidence. At the end of my freshman year, he invited me to join the chemistry major and that is when I found my passion for wanting to help others the same way Dr. Lee helped me.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

It is fine to come into Cornell with a goal, but be open to changing your path if you find something that really energizes you. There is more than one route to any career path.