Fostering Perseverance

Biology alumna Terrence Habiyaremye hosts a table in Mund

Terrence Habiyaremye ’17 is a highly multifaceted individual, in terms of both interests and cultures.

His parents, refugees from the Rwandan genocide, adopted Terrence and his sister, Alice, when he was 8 years old. The family is trilingual, fluent in English, French, and Kinyarwanda. As a result, Habiyaremye developed a fascination with other cultures at a young age, leading directly to his decision to minor in Spanish. On the other hand, his major in biology came out of a desire to understand how living beings work, with Habiyaremye planning to study medicine after earning his LVC degree.

As a three-year-old child placed into foster care, Habiyaremye has worked hard to take advantage of the opportunities life has offered him. His unstable childhood saw him transition from school to school, sometimes on four occasions a year. When the Habiyaremye family adopted him, he and his sister found a home, but with it, a sort of culture shock. The family, recently arrived in the United States from Rwanda, felt that they had been given a second chance and wished to repay it. Habiyaremye found himself thrust into a culture that he was not entirely used to, but grew accustomed to his new environment over the years, appreciating the experiences that he was exposed to. In particular, Habiyaremye observed that starting over in the U.S. had left them with very little in the way of connections or social status, making their child-rearing efforts all the more notable. For the family, adjusting to their new environments was an experience that affected each member differently.

“I never left the country, but had my eyes opened at the age of 8,” said Habiyaremye of his adoption.

When it came time for Habiyaremye to choose a college, he elected to attend LVC on the basis of “size, curriculum, and financial aid.” LVC’s size enabled him to join as many activities as possible, initially joining the ultimate Frisbee team before expanding his involvement by joining Tau Kappa Epsilon and the track & field team.

“It’s introduced me to some of the best people that I know,” said Habiyaremye.

Habiyaremye, soon to graduate and continue his journey into the field of medicine, is grateful for the life he has lived, and plans on pushing himself even further during the coming years. While he had originally planned to become an ophthalmologist, he now believes that his calling is to become a family physician, working in areas similar to where he grew up. 

Habiyaremye’s years in the foster care system gave him compassion for others in his situation. One of his goals is to serve as an example to children in the system through his prowess in medicine. His work is hardly over, but he’s certainly gone a long way in proving anybody’s doubts about him wrong.

“There are no do-overs in life,” said Habiyaremye.