Students who have been part of the LIME program have gone on to do remarkable things in their studies and in their careers. Two of these Malagasy alumni also served as members of LIME teams that traveled to Madagascar. In other words, these two students who were mentored by LIME teams in the past, then turned around in their sophomore year at Lafayette and became mentors themselves. Here, past LIME participants share their reflections about the program and touch upon how it continues to impact their lives today.

Chrispin Okechi Otondi ’13
Medical student, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Chrispin Otondi '13 speaks with other students.

Chrispin Okechi Otondi

“Seeing the students we saw in the Lycée come to Lafayette and have the same opportunities for success that we had, when they didn’t even think they could dream of these opportunities, was a life- changing experience. Not only do we get to tell them that it’s possible, but we got to help them make it a reality. It’s truly a reflection of the effect that mentorship coupled with hard work can lead to success. I look forward to the inevitable reunion. I recall how emotional the farewell was with the songs, and I am forever grateful for how the LIME team in Madagascar was accommodating to us. LIME was an opportunity to give back, make new friends, and to let the students know that it always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Flavia Umulisa ’17
Graduate, Elliott School, George Washington University; advocacy and evaluation intern, Women’s Learning Partnership

Flavia Umulisa

Flavia Umulisa

“LIME definitely means a lot to me, but most importantly as an international student who went through closely similar experiences, it was a way to give back what I had been given while also learning so much from the LIME students. I have so many favorite moments. One of those was computer day and watching the students’ faces light up as we were looking through college applications and some U.S. colleges. You could see how ready they all were to chase this dream. It was an honor to be a little part of this big dream of theirs. I consider myself a member of the LIME program for life.”

Karla Talley ’18
J.D. candidate, Toll Public Interest Scholar,University of Pennsylvania Law School 2023

Karla Talley ’18

Karla Talley

“There were moments where I worked with students who were sometimes nervous to tackle something new, but allowed us as mentors to embrace the lessons and challenges with them together. The moments where a student’s eyes would light up because they had grasped a new and complex topic inside the classroom—those moments were priceless. On the other hand, there were the moments where the Lafayette team had to embrace our own fears and challenges, whether it was the fear of lemurs jumping on our backs, or the challenges of teaching, working together as a team, or understanding and learning about the history of Madagascar as a reminder of why LIME is important. LIME will forever hold a special place in my heart: It wasn’t just three weeks in Madagascar or the one-and-a-half years. I think for many of us, we will always be connected to the students, the professors, and our teams, and that we will always love LIME!”

Becky Wai ’18
Political science Ph.D. student, University of Michigan

Rebecca Wai '18 sits in the Farinon Center.

Becky Wai

“Teaching the LIME students during those three weeks was one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my time in Lafayette. I remember laughing until our stomachs hurt when we played Pictionary during ‘reading’ class and danced to Cha-Cha Slide during breaks. Seeing the students working so hard and being so appreciative of us teaching them made me feel immensely grateful for all the opportunities I had in life that led me to Lafayette and LIME. It was also wonderful being in a team of such passionate and kind Lafayette students—it was probably the first place where I felt like I belonged at Lafayette! My time with LIME made me realize how much I enjoyed teaching and helping students, and now I’m teaching my own class of undergrads as a Ph.D. student (and hopefully in the future as a professor)! I would have never realized that teaching was something I’m passionate about if not for my time with LIME.”

Emily Keller-Coffey ’18
Senior associate- project management, Chemonics International, Washington, D.C.

Emily Keller-Coffey

Emily Keller-Coffey (center)

“LIME was both challenging and rewarding, it was full of growth and learning individually and as a group, and it was full of really special connections with students from across the world. The responsibility mentors take on is not to be taken lightly, and I was so inspired by the hard work and commitment of each and every LIME student (not to mention Mme. Vatosoa), and the way they welcomed us with open arms and leaned in to the learning process (even when we missed the mark on lessons planned). I think my favorite day in the classroom was the debate day, as we got to see the students in small group settings, really excited and vocal in an environment that was both so fun and competitive, and a huge testament to all of their hard work. The trip also opened my eyes to the world of international development, a field I knew nothing of before, as we saw the role the U.S. plays abroad during the embassy visit and Peace Corps site visits, and engaged in such learning-filled conversations about colonization and development with the global set of mentors in our group. This experience shaped the remainder of my time at Lafayette, and my career since then. LIME is truly an incredible and inspiring  program, led by professors who care and teach in a way that extends far beyond the classroom, and I hope for many, many more years of LIME!”

Clara Randimbiarimanana ’18
Malagasy alumni/Ph.D. candidate, sociocultural anthropology, University of Arizona

Clara Randimbiarimanana ’18, sociology & anthropology and international affairs

Clara Randimbiarimanana

“LIME is an incredible experience but very uncertain as well. Not all the Malagasy LIME students end up coming to the United States. In coming back as a mentor, it was nice to have that background because I was able to relate to them and communicate to them to embrace that hope and excitement. But at the same time, it is healthy to tell them, as well, that it’s going to be hard work. It’s a lot of work. At the end of the day, even if they don’t get accepted into a program in the U.S., they will likely continue their studies in or outside Madagascar. There are so many brilliant students in the cohort, and there are many advantages and benefits to participating in the program. Being part of LIME taught me the value of hard work, humility, service and support for others, and the Lafayette’s “cur non” motto. These kept me grounded and allowed me to grow at the same time. In 9 years of being part of LIME,  I was able to transition from struggling to find the right vocabulary to describe my favorite hobby, to becoming a mentor to other Malagasy LIMErs, to earning my degrees from Lafayette College, to pursuing a PhD in a field that I think I will be able to best use my talent and creativity to help others. I am grateful for the LIME mentors, LIME professors from Lafayette and Madame Vatosoa for the opportunity, believing in me and supporting me in a different capacity.”

Jean Donovan Rsamoelison ’19
Malagasy alumni/Masters candidate, economics, Western Michigan University
“The program really inspired me and made me believe that a dream to study in the U.S. was not beyond my reach. And with the help of the Lafayette students and the professors during the tests and application process, I also built confidence as I realized that they believed in me. When I came back, on my first day teaching the students, I could read in their eyes how much I inspired them and how much they wanted to achieve their dream. One important thing I learned from being a mentor was the students reminding me of how big of an opportunity I had to be able to study in the U.S. and how much I should do my best to make the most out of the opportunity I had.”

 

Categorized in: Alumni, Alumni Success Stories, Connected Communities, Diversity, Featured Alumni Success Stories, Featured News, Intercultural Development, Intercultural Experience, News and Features

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