#WCW: Muhire Kwizera and K'yal Bannister Of Spelman College

This week’s #WCW comes courtesy of Spelman, an HBCU down in Atlanta, which is 0% male…sorry to you thirst trap dudes.

Just last weekend, two superb students graduated as co-valedictorians for the Spellman Class of 2017.
Muhire Kwizera, C’2017, a mathematics major, and K’yal Bannister, C’2017, a chemistry and dual-degree engineering major, were co-valedictorians with a 4.0 G.P.A.
Both women lead a class of 490 graduate during the College’s 130th Commencement at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.
Following graduation, K’yal will pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology as a part of Spelman’s dual degree engineering program before pursuing her Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

“My time at Spelman provided me the opportunity to build many technical and soft skills. As an aspiring researcher, I have had the opportunity to conduct research that has prepared me for graduate school and a career in the academic or industrial sector. The coursework at Spelman has ignited my passion for research, offering a unique experience for a Black woman and my desire to impart positive social change.” – K’yal Bannister, Co-Valedictorians for the Spelman College Class of 2017

A member of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, K’yal has held internships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and ExxonMobil.
“K’yal is one of the most outstanding students I have personally encountered in my 30 plus years at the College,” said Lisa Hibbard, Ph.D., Spelman associate professor of chemistry. “She is a singularly focused and mature young scientist who continually strives to perform at the highest level. Even when she was in her first year at the college, I could tell that she was ready for the challenge that we at Spelman offered. She demonstrated strong interest in not just comprehending the material but going beyond what was presented.

Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Muhire Kwizera will attend Columbia University to pursue a Ph.D. in biostatistics.

“Before enrolling at Spelman, I knew of only one career path for a mathematician and that was becoming a math teacher. I appreciate how Spelman introduced me to other career paths as a mathematics major and am grateful for professors like Dr. Viveka Brown, who introduced me to research during my first year, and along with others, helped me refine my research interests through my classwork.” Muhire Kwizera – Co-Valedictorians for the Spelman College Class of 2017

Muhire, a member of The Phi Beta Kappa Society and Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honor society, immersed herself in the numerous internship and undergraduate research opportunities that were available.
This included research projects at Emory University School of Medicine and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and both experiences were instrumental in defining her interest in data analysis and biostatistics.
“Upon completion of my doctoral program, I would like to create a research group that will develop statistical techniques and apply them to the analysis of public health data from developing countries,” said Muhire.
“Muhire is one of the most mathematically talented students I have taught at Spelman,” said Yewande Olubummo, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics. “She has a real love of mathematics and the ability to understand and apply abstract mathematical concepts at a deep and precise level.”

Valerie Jarrett, the longest-serving senior adviser to President Barack Obama, delivered the Commencement address.
Valerie has had a consequential impact across the American political, civic and business landscape. Pioneering physicist and mathematician Katherine G. Johnson received an honorary degree.
Valerie is a trailblazer in American space history and was the subject of the acclaimed movie, “Hidden Figures.”