Celine Apenteng may only have one biological sibling, but she regards nearly a dozen people from around the world as her sisters. This “extended family,” as she calls them, and Apenteng’s travels abroad, have had a profound impact on her view of education.
“There’s always something for you to learn,” said Apenteng, whose family has hosted exchange students from France, Moldova and Germany since she was 10. “Even if it’s not something new, the way somebody says something could impact how you think about it.”
The incoming freshman from Silver Spring, Maryland, said she is looking forward to continuing her learning and growth at George Mason University, where she will be a member of the Honors College and a University Scholar majoring in conflict analysis and resolution with minors in intelligence studies and data analysis.
“I’m interested in seeing the different perspectives that people bring to the table and how that will shape me into my future self,” Apenteng said, adding that she hopes to work for the FBI or with Homeland Security.
Why conflict analysis and resolution?
“I’ve seen that a lot of new jobs today that are looking for people who know how to deal with conflict,” she said.
Part of resolving conflict can involve navigating cultural differences, and Apenteng has had experiences that could help position her for success, such as her participation in an exchange program to France in 2016.
Most recently, Apenteng was awarded a scholarship in her senior year of high school to attend the prestigious Congress-Bundestag Youth Program, a U.S.-German exchange program hosted by the U.S. State Department.
“Being in Germany not only taught me different perspectives and different ways of thinking, but also different ways of solving problems that you don’t see in the United States,” she said. “That, and being able to make friends in different languages and understand people.”
The 11-month program where Apenteng was learning German (she also is fluent in French) was cut short by a couple months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even so, she said it was worthwhile.
“I never thought that I could do what [the exchange students we hosted] were doing,” Apenteng said. “I learned I’m more resilient than I think.”
In addition to learning from her degree program at Mason, Apenteng said she is looking forward to being part of the virtual learning communities, and experiencing all the university has to offer.
“I’m happy to be at Mason,” she said. “I’m really glad I applied, and I can’t wait for the school year to start.”