Political Science

Etienne Mashuli is the 2013 Outstanding Senior Man

May 28, 2013

Etienne Mashuli, a North Central College senior and resident of Naperville, was named the College’s Outstanding Senior Man, the highest award presented to a member of the Class of 2013.

North Central College recognized Mashuli during its annual Honors Convocation on May 14 for his success in the classroom, his involvement and contributions to the campus community outside the classroom, and his future potential.

Mashuli, son of Etienne Nsanzimana and Zilipa Nyiransabuwiteka, is majoring in political science. He was also recognized during the ceremony for being a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, which will fund his pursuit of a master’s degree in African studies at Yale University.

One nominator said, “Etienne is destined to make a dramatic impact on both the scholarly and humanitarian world. I can think of no one who is more deserving and who better captures what it means to be a North Central College student.”

Mashuli’s journey to North Central was driven by providential encounters, beginning with the Rwandan Genocide that swept his native country in 1994. He managed to escape the violence and took refuge in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which also was overcome with its own turmoil through the First Congo War in 1996.

Later on, Mashuli studied for four years in Kenya at the encouragement of an aid worker. Mashuli returned to Rwanda in 2005 where he provided translation services for missionaries from the Village Baptist Church in Aurora, Ill. It was there he met the church’s pastor Richard Howard who assisted Mashuli in applying to North Central College to pursue a bachelor’s degree. By January 2009, Mashuli was on a plane headed to the United States to begin his undergraduate career at North Central, funded by a North Central College International Trustee Scholarship.

Mashuli’s experiences of the violence in Rwanda and the DRC impacted his scholarly pursuits and extracurricular involvement at North Central. With his background in political science, Mashuli analyzed the conflict in both countries to determine whether the violence in each could be categorically defined as genocide. His work in the political science department earned him recognition as the Outstanding Major in Political Science as a sophomore in 2011. Mashuli’s research experience also extended beyond the walls of North Central; he spent two summers after his sophomore and junior years conducting undergraduate research at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Outside his studies, Mashuli has been active in advocating for causes important to him while also informing and engaging students around him. He teamed up with a number of student organizations at North Central to raise funds for Ubuntu in Action, an initiative established by Mashuli and a University of Chicago student to build schools in Africa’s Great Lakes region.

“He is driven by a desire to understand the world around him and make a meaningful difference in that world,” one faculty nominator said. “His knowledge and commitment to his work are unmatched by any undergraduate student I have encountered.”