Assegid Demissie

School of Education

Photo of Assegid DemissieEarly Childhood Education, PreK-4

Student leader, mentor and aspiring elementary teacher from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Assegid took a different path than some to get to Duquesne. He began his college career at a small university in Missouri, studying computer science. There was though a pull to find a profession that could help him give back to the community. "I do want to give back to the place I come from. Computer science would let me give back in some way but education means a lot." One of Assegid's sisters is a teacher as well and serves as an inspiration for him.

After researching universities, including several in Pittsburgh, he decided to transfer to Duquesne because of the importance the field work experience is as part of the curriculum for education majors. "Having Duquesne send me to different schools around Pittsburgh and having those experiences (in the classroom) really made a difference," he said when reflecting on his decision to come to Duquesne, expand his horizons and study Early Childhood Education. He will be graduating with honors.

Outside of his studies, Assegid enjoys creating digital art and animations as a hobby. He likes to create digital puppets and has even illustrated books for friends. Integrating this hobby into the classroom when he begins teaching is a goal.

As a commuter student living in Bloomfield, he has been active with the Office of Commuter Affairs throughout his time on the Bluff. He has been a Commuter Assistant, working to organize campus activities to connect commuters to academic and recreation services available on campus. Assegid is also a member of the Commuter Affairs Executive Board, a member of the Black Student Union and is on the Executive Board of the Duquesne chapter of the National Society for Leadership and Success.

That sense of making people feel at home also extended to working with other international students as a Conversation Partner with the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. In that role he has helped students from Argentina, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. "I started with one student and then that student brought his friends and there were eventually five of us." Assegid thinks that experience working with students from diverse backgrounds will be very helpful when he leads his own classroom as a teacher. In 2017, he was recognized with the Bishop's Award for Community Service for his work as an after school tutor at the Pittsburgh non-profit organization Earthen Vessels Outreach.

While Assegid's bigger goals include leading his own classroom and returning to Duquesne for a graduate degree, he feels confident that his professors walked alongside him in his journey and prepared him for what's next. Along with many School of Education professors, Assegid is appreciative of Curriculum Center Director Danielle Henzler. "She introduced us to a lot of books. I learned how to use books with illustrations and storytelling to be able to connect with students," he said. "It was 'eye opening' to think deeply about what students would like and how they can and will learn."

Assegid's outlook is clearly driven by compassion and empathy, "It's going to be difficult no matter who you are, what or where you come from, there will be challenges from professors, from your peers as well. It's not going to be just like a smooth road on campus. But just being resilient and if you have a goal, you just have to give it all you can. Also, when things are moving too fast, it's also okay to slow down, evaluate where you are and recalibrate to where you want to go."