Black History Month: with BSBA student Naydeny Chuol
In recognition of Black History Month, the UNO CBA recognizes Black faculty, students, alumni, and community members who are making an impact in Omaha and beyond.
We are proud to present Naydeny Chuol, currently an undergraduate student in UNO CBA’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) program. We checked in with Chuol about her sources of motivation, where she finds joy, and her hopes for the future.
Can you tell us about your training?
“I’m from Africa, South Sudan, so I came here with no English or school background. I started at Iowa Western Community College in 2007 to start with my ABC and ESL classes. Then I spent seven years on my GED at Metropolitan Community College, where I was doing both college dual credit and the GED program.After that, when I graduated from MCC last year, I just decided to transfer my credits here to UNO. This is my second semester at UNO. I am a junior, because I had half of my credits at MCC. Now I am focusing on banking and financial markets, and hopefully maybe I can graduate next year. I’m a mother of seven so my education isn’t my only priority, but at the same time I’m doing everything I can.”
What does being a business student mean to you?
“It’s important to me because where I grew up, we didn’t have the opportunity for women or girls to have an education. I’m just competing with myself as a young girl, being told I can’t go to school because I’m a girl, and being told all I can do is stay at home and ensure the success of others, but not your own. Since I’ve been here, I never take a break. I’ve been here for 17 years now and it’s always about balancing it all – education, work, motherhood, and my goal is to set an example for myself, for my children and for all other young women at home, or anywhere in the world, who don’t believe in the opportunity. It’s a very touching subject for me because it keeps me going even when I’m ready to give up, and it pushes me to persevere, because I can show that I can do it.”
Who or what inspires you?
“WIn my home community in Omaha, there are many women who are mothers, who sometimes lose hope and have no idea that education has no age or expiry date. It drives me forward that I can do it, and that I can show them that it’s doable, and once in a while I see people that I talk to or see me, and they ask me to go back to school or ask me questions about ‘where can I register?’ or ‘what should I do?’. Whether it’s ESL or GED programs or college programs…I just try to pave the way for them, and since UNO was a goal of mine for a very, very long time, it keeps me going.”
Has anyone you talked to decided to go back to school?
“Oh yeah, a bunch of people. I told them, all you have to do is get back to it!”
When do you feel like your voice is heard and respected?
“I’m also an interpreter, since I speak five other languages, so using that and meeting people in many different situations, like when someone needs a hospital appointment or something, I share a bit about what I’m going through and how I deal with it. Every time, something like this pops up, and when I see this relief, this ‘Hey, you know what? Maybe I can do it!”, it makes me feel like maybe I’m making a difference. And when I see something on the news, people keep trying, and I identify with that, even though it’s not about me, I feel like it’s also my voice I have friends who are educators, who work as teachers, and we share a bunch, thinking back to the story of how far I’ve come as a community, as a country, and also as a minority that I am in many ways. Every time when I see something that was better than last year, but will be even better next year, I feel like my voice is being heard, or someone else’s voice is being heard, and it could be my voice too.”
What do you hope to accomplish during and after the rest of your college experience?
“MMaybe not this year, but early next year I’m looking for opportunities and networking. What I look for the most during my time at university is to learn as much as possible in my concentration and to network with people who already have experience and backgrounds in financial institutions. I hope I will eventually find a job, a better work with which I could make a better living, and also make a difference.”