Student Government Association President Denise Mugabe is an international student from Harare, Zimbabwe, who arrived in the U.S. in 2012 and started at Del Mar College that same year. Mugabe chose Del Mar because she wanted to enroll in an affordable college with a good reputation. Mugabe’s uncle had previously graduated from Del Mar and had nothing but praise for it.
“When I first arrived to the United States I was extremely homesick,” Mugabe said. “I left my family, friends, and everything I had ever truly known behind. Only after hitting rock bottom did I then realize that I needed to make the most out of what I had. I started getting involved, taking advantage of opportunities here at Del Mar. I got involved with SGA, Alpha Beta Gamma, and started taking part in speech competitions through class. I am currently taking an Interpersonal speech class with Sarah Contreras, and this class has also gone on to be a life-changing experience.
“Being involved in different clubs and activities at Del Mar and in the community has helped me make a lot of friends and so many connections, I am not just building my resume; I am building my life.”
Getting involved has led Mugabe to her biggest opportunity yet. She has been offered an internship to attend George Mason University in Washington, D.C., this summer.
Mugabe was selected to take part in the Fund for American Studies internship, where she will be interning in the Business and Governmental Affairs office, and working 30 hours a week within an organization in the State Capitol.
A major challenge Mugabe is facing in attending the internship is financial backing. Because she is an international student, there are higher costs involved. Traveling to and living in D.C. is pricey, and Mugabe also must raise funds to attend Midwestern State University in the fall to complete her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in communications. To achieve this goal, Mugabe has set up a crowdfunding account at www.gofundme.com/deniseedu.
“She has just blossomed here,” said Eva De La Garza, Student Success Center director, of Mugabe. “I have seen her begin as a small, quiet rosebud, into winning speech competitions and just blossoming into a beautiful flower. She has “it” …she is our ‘it girl.’ ”
Tina Butler, executive assistant to Del Mar College President agrees.
“She is bright and knows what she wants. She is truly focused on her goals. She was timid at first, and now she is just blossoming. She is thankful to all that help her and is truly a great student.”
Throughout these challenges, Mugabe stays true and optimistic to her dream of being an example to all students.
“Throughout everything I am happy with life, I am excited to take on the world, and hope to one day give back to a community that gave me so much.”