Charles Thuku wanted more for his life. He wanted to overcome the poverty of his native country of Kenya. After years of pursuit and an ambitious spirit, Charles is fulfilling his dream of higher education at ECPI in Richmond, Virginia where he is a Computer Information Systems student.
The school system in Kenya is different than in the United States. Rather than the continual assessment in the states, students go to school all year and take only one test at the end to determine if he will be able to continue his education. This is the process for the first seven years of schooling. If students make it to high school they are there for four years in which they take just one exam at the end of those years to determine their opportunity to continue in higher education. If a student does not pass that one exam there are no further opportunities. Education is no longer an option. Couple those testing challenges with a poor family and the opportunity for higher education seems impossible.
These challenges and economic hardships changed Charles’ life. After being laid off for not having the skills required to maintain employment he took an introspective look and made the decision to acquire the skills that would keep him from being in that situation. With a great deal of tenacity and the assistance of a few good people who believed in his determination, Charles was able to enroll and obtain a higher Diploma in Business Management for Kenya Institute of Management. Charles believes “it doesn’t matter where you are; it is the effort that you put in.”
In 2001 he came to the United States to visit his sister. In 2003 amongst 55,000 applicants through the U.S. Department of Migration he was selected to become a permanent resident. In the states he experienced the same woes of being laid off due to lack of skills. For Charles, the answer was again, education.
A traditional school was not an option for him due to the time commitment. ECPI was the best option for him to acquire his bachelor’s in the shortest time from an institution with a technology focus. “ECPI met my expectations for education,” says Charles. “The degree, however, is just the foundation for me to build my own future.” With a great deal of work, effort and discipline Charles maintains a 3.9 GPA. In the future he hopes to work in the international technology field in particular helping developing countries like his home, Kenya.
Charles is a Computer Information Systems student at ECPI and will graduate with a bachelor’s in October 2011. After acquiring employment in his field of study he aspires to seek a Masters in IT Project Management. He is a member of the national Honor Society and he is a certified Fiber Optic Installer and Fiber Optic Technician.