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Bereket Bekele

Regents Award

By Jayna Morris | Photography by Scott Beseler | Published May 2020
Bereket Bekele, a Chemistry major at NKU
The Regents Award is given to a senior student who has demonstrated professionalism and leadership within the university community and who has an emphasis on continuation of graduate level work. The Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents sponsors this award.

Bereket Bekele flew more than 7,500 miles from his hometown of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend Northern Kentucky University. It took a few weeks for him to adjust to his new life in Highland Heights, but it didn’t take long for him to get involved on campus.

Bereket focused a lot of his free time during the last few years on bringing understanding of African culture to the NKU community. He took on leadership roles with under-represented minorities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds through his service as vice president of NKU’s African Student Union, co-founder of the NKU National Society of Black Engineers and co-founder of the NKU Ethiopian Dance Team—which gave him one of his favorite NKU memories.

“I am happy to have been a part of this university. There are so many favorite memories to choose from,” he says, “but the one I vividly remember is when a close friend of mine and I created an Ethiopian cultural dance team and performed in front of the school at the African Student Union culture show. It was just unforgettable."

In the classroom, the Chemistry major stayed as busy as he could. He was a STEM ambassador, a chemistry, biology and math tutor, a biology teaching assistant, an undergraduate researcher in two different chemistry labs and a co-op scientist for Eccrine Systems, a local biotechnology company.

And if that wasn’t enough, Bereket is headed to Purdue University this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

“Since the day he walked on campus, Bereket has exemplified leadership and professionalism,” says Michael Guy, professor of Chemistry at NKU. “Not only has he excelled in class, but he has also lifted and helped many others during his time here. As he pursues his goal of becoming a chemical engineer, I have no doubt that he will continue to lead and help those around him. He embodies what we hope all NKU students will become: engaged servant leaders with a desire to understand and improve the world around them.”