Nihira Mugamba is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) pursuing a B.A. with a dual major in Political Science and Africana Studies. A leader in the community, and one with a passion for helping others, she created a kindergarten reading program "Reading to Excel" for a school in Uganda. This program focuses on improving literacy levels for these children. Nihira’s interest in educational opportunities in underserved communities expanded when she conducted and presented an independent research study titled, "Do religion and GDP per capita have an effect on education in Sub-Saharan countries in Africa?" This study and her desire to improve education systems in African countries translated into an internship in Uganda to better understand the development and implementation of education policy. She also serves as a Sherman Center/Shriver Center Literacy Fellow through UMBC where she leads and coordinates a group of UMBC volunteers at a Baltimore Elementary/Middle school and assists students within a second-grade classroom with reading and writing skills twice a week. Nihira’s interest in improving educational opportunities in underserved communities is reflected in her volunteer work, both in Uganda and the United States.
“I am a leader and a global citizen who uses both my major interests in Political Science and Africana Studies to support communities with educational disparities in Baltimore, Maryland and Kampala, Uganda. I worked to develop “Reading to Excel” a reading program that focuses on enhancing reading literacy for kindergarten students in Uganda. As a Fellow of the Sherman Early Literacy Program at UMBC I lead a group of UMBC volunteers twice a week to an elementary-middle school in Baltimore city where we work with teachers and youth to promote reading and literacy in the classroom. In addition to leading the volunteers, I also volunteer with the program, assisting a second-grade classroom. Having worked and volunteered in both Baltimore and Kampala, these experiences and cultures have played an avid role in forming both the person I am today and my future career path. In the future, I aim to support both communities educational systems by working to eliminate educational inequalities in communities with limited financial resources, and expand the academic opportunities available to them.”