Druid Hills student plans to attend Brown University in Rhode Island

Student Receives QuestBridge ScholarshipOne DeKalb County School District (DCSD) senior’s hard work, persistence and vision for the future has paid off in the largest way imaginable: a full-ride scholarship to one of the nation’s most prestigious universities.

Druid Hills High School senior Ermias Genet is a recipient of the Questbridge Scholarship, a much-sought-after program that connects low-income, high-achieving students with elite institutions of higher education.

The organization allows for students such as Genet—an Ethiopian political refugee since the age of 10—the chance to consider the nation’s best colleges and universities as options.

QuestBridge gives Genet the option of attending such schools as Brown, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Amherst, Emory and Rice. While he could become a Commodore, an Owl, Mammoth or Keggy, he plans on becoming a Bear at Brown by Fall 2018.

Genet already has his first piece of spirit wear: a heather grey, pull-over crewneck sweater. It bears the Brown crest as well as the school’s founding year, 1794. He’s sure he’ll need it on campus, which is located in Providence, Rhode Island.

“I really love Brown’s curriculum,” Genet said. “I’m a person of many interests, and at Brown I can take classes from a variety of subjects, which is very valuable to me.”

Brown’s open curriculum does not require students to take “core” classes or distribute course hours into specific disciplines, such as a foreign language. Genet says this will allow him to dedicate 100 percent of his focus on biomedical engineering.

“I’ve always aspired to enter the medical field,” Genet said. “I was born and raised in Ethiopia. My dad was a surgeon, my mother was a pharmacist and I grew up around a hospital. Growing up there, I noticed a gap between technology and medicine, so I’d love to bridge that gap.”

Obtaining entrance into Brown—a top 10 university worldwide—is surreal for Genet because of his past. He remembers how much of a culture shock it was upon his arrival. He can still recall how his parents had to sacrifice their careers for survival.

He views attending Brown as a suitable catharsis and a chance to repay his parents’ sacrifice.

“I barely spoke English. The education system was different—here you can take classes like psychology and really broaden your horizons,” Genet said. “In Ethiopia, we were all obsessed with this ‘American Dream’ sort of thing. But once we came here, everything was different. This is all for my parents—when they came here they had to sacrifice everything. I’m happy I’m able to do that for them.”

Student Receives QuestBridge ScholarshipDuring his time at Druid Hills High, Genet has become captain of the cross country team, a player on the soccer team, president of the Spanish National Honor Society, a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, BETA Club, International Club and Future Business Leaders of America—all while earning a 4.3 weighted grade point average.

Genet said one long-term goal, when his Brown days are over and his career is nearing its apex, would be returning to Ethiopia to better the country’s medical conditions.

“I’d definitely love to go back home and maybe build a hospital,” Genet said.

Genet’s advice in gaining entry into the country’s most prestigious universities? Never undervalue your own opinion of yourself. He also advises to speak your individual truth and share your story, as admission boards typically value genuineness.

“It’s very important to not underestimate yourself,” Genet said. “Many students are capable of doing what I’ve done but they don’t see their potential or try as hard. They see these top-tier schools and think they don’t have a chance. But if you don’ try you’ll never know. Aim high—you never know what’s going to happen.”