I am Smith

Patience Kayira

Patience Kariya portrait
About Patience

Class of 2020

Keene, New Hampshire

American Studies & English Language and Literature

BridgeUp Scholar

Peer Adviser at the Lazarus Center

Former Editor in Chief of The Sophian

Elizabeth Montague Prize for best essay on a subject concerning women

Scholarship Recipient

Why did you choose to come to Smith?
“In high school, I was a member of Upward Bound, a year-round pre-college program that provides youth from low-income backgrounds tools for academic success and college readiness. One of my Upward Bound counselors was a Smith alumna, and she encouraged me to look into Smith. After I visited campus, I realized I wanted to be part of Smith’s student community. I knew I wanted to be in an environment that would not only challenge me academically but also encourage me to use my voice.”

What are you studying?
“I’m studying American Studies and English. I’m drawn to the way both of these academic disciplines apply critical perspectives to the world.”

Who has had the most impact on your life?
“My parents. My family moved to the United States in 2002. At the time, my parents were pursuing their graduate degrees at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. From a very early age, they instilled in me and my two older sisters the importance of an education. During summer vacations, we would often take family trips to the library to read, practice our writing and review math concepts. While I was not always enthusiastic about these library days, I think the discipline helped me get to where I am today. Not only that, my parents taught me how to love learning. This passion for learning has been a source of strength for me throughout my years of schooling and during my time at Smith.”

“Financial aid gives students with different backgrounds the opportunity to be part of Smith College’s tradition.”

Patience Kayira poses in front of a studio background

Describe an accomplishment you are particularly proud of.
“In my sophomore year, I co-led an Innovation Challenge Grant Project with two Smith students, Hilda Nalwanga ’18 and Ruth Tekleab Mekbib ’19, for Smith’s African and Caribbean Students’ Association (SACSA). The project is called SACSA Careers. We noticed that there was a need for more career development programs and workshops designed specifically for international students. Our project aims to ease the job/internship process for international students and to make it easier for international students to connect with international alumnae.

In this project’s first year, our primary focus was on students from African countries. With help from the Lazarus Center and the Conway Center, we led a resume and cover letter workshop and coordinated a LinkedIn photoshoot. We also attended the Harvard Africa Business Conference at Harvard Business School with 20 Smith students.

For the 2018–19 academic year, we wanted to extend the inclusivity portion of our project. We worked hard to collaborate with other Smith orgs and other Unity orgs. For example, in September we co-sponsored an event with Smithies in Business, and we opened our workshops to all international students.”

How has your financial aid impacted you and your ability to come to Smith?
“When I was a senior in high school my dad lost his job. My family only had one source of income, so there was a lot of uncertainty about how my parents were going to pay for my college education. Plus, my two older sisters were both in college at the time as well. Without generous aid from donors, it would not have been possible for me to attend Smith. I am truly grateful and appreciative for this support. Financial aid gives students with different backgrounds the opportunity to be part of Smith College's tradition.”

Contact Us

To make an endowed gift or to learn more about supporting financial aid at Smith, please contact Betsy Carpenter ’93, associate vice president for development, at 413-585-2052 or ewcarpen@smith.edu.