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Pair of Yotes Grow as Leaders in Leadership Academy

January 25, 2023

Sophomore Rakeb Abraham Jebessa took 15 credits in the classroom during the Fall term. She also participated in student government, served as a student ambassador, and lent a hand as a student advocate.

“Google Calendar was my bestie,” Jebessa said with a laugh.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Jebessa and Moubarak Abdoulaye Soumana both participated in the Global Citizen Year Academy, a twelve-week leadership class that helped identify and enhance ways that students can positively impact those around them. The program is designed as an in-person educational cohort to be completed during a gap year between high school and college or during a break from college. However, both students, who are members of the Davis Scholars program, opted to complete the program in a different format, remotely, while enrolled at the College. The United World College (UWC) Davis Scholar program offers scholarships to the academy for eligible students under the age of 21.

Abdoulaye Soumana, like Jebessa, is a student ambassador. He’s also the treasurer of the ASCI student government. And he was enrolled in 19 credits during the Fall term, primarily upper-division classes as he will graduate with a degree in business administration in May.

“It was very tough at the beginning but I’m very happy to say I was able to manage all of it,” he said. “I’m really glad that I took this experience. It has broadened my understanding of leadership.”

The students were separated into time zones in order to make the classes easier to attend. The discussion was lively and everyone participated. One of the big takeaways from the experience for Abdoulaye Soumana was the importance of perspective.

“It made me a better leader, more open-minded because there were issues that were raised that I had no idea of,” he explained. “Everybody was from different places, something may have happened in one country that I had no idea about. I will see the world in different lenses.”

For Jebessa the ability to lead by following was a valuable lesson that she’ll carry on as she moves forward.

“Before, I thought change-maker meant I had to go out there and help people, make things better for people,” she said. “In this program, one of the greatest things I learned is you can’t give the same resources to everyone.”

It’s collaboration that allows leaders to shine, she continued. Work together as an act of support rather than moving by force.

“I’m not going to act as though I know what they need. I’m not going to say ‘my community needs this,’ and just do it,” explained the computer science major. “I learned to ask. Ask what they need, if they need that help. It’s so important just to ask.”

The College of Idaho has a 132-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit