My name is Tifani Mbombo, and I am a first semester student at the School of Labor and Employment Relations. I work for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics as an academic coach and as a desk clerk for Graduate Upper Division housing. I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, more specifically Lubumbashi. I lived in Kinshasa up until the age of six, and then was forced to move to a refugee camp in Kiziba, Rwanda as a result of the aftermath of the Rwandese genocide. I was 9 years old when my family was sponsored to move to Chicago through the American Red Cross and Chicago has been my home for almost 17 years.
I have learned five different languages through my life and currently only speak English and Lingala, and understand Swahili. Language has been a skill that has made it possible for me to understand different character types in order to effectively interact and communicate with people from different backgrounds. As a new immigrant in America, I faced many challenges, but these challenges have helped me learn to find different ways to tackle problems in my life and help others do the same.
I received my undergraduate degree at UIUC, through the college of Applied Health Sciences in Community Health: Health Planning and Administration and went to work for Cerner Corporation as a health IT Consultant for two years. As a Consultant, I knew I wanted to interact and help people for the rest of myself, and when this journey came to an end, I knew LER was going to prepare me for my new journey.
As a first semester LER student, I really enjoyed the classes I took. Even Statistics! They have all challenged and pushed me to a level I never thought was possible, and pushed me to further explore free online courses through Harvard University for the summer months. This summer, I will be in Champaign virtually interning for AbbVie benefits department, and taking online courses to keep my brain pumping. Through this internship I hope to gain more knowledge about AbbVie and their Human Resources department to see if they are a good fit for me after graduation.
My advice to anyone currently looking to further their education is to look somewhere where you will be considered family. The staff and students in the LER program are always willing to help - no matter how last minute the request. I am happy I can share my passion for helping people with everyone in this program and I hope you are able to find this same kind of environment whether through your program of study or career.