Lincoln, Neb. —Sarah Munezero, originally from Rwanda, hopes to return to “the land of a thousand hills” to help agriculture thrive while ensuring the sustainability of water resources.
Munezero, who graduated in May 2021 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Integrated Science and Mechanized Systems Management, is a self-proclaimed water enthusiast. She dove head first into a water-based experiment at the Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, but her interest in water resources began her senior year at the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology in Kilagi, Rwanda.
It was in high school that she became interested in how drip irrigation works and how it helps increase agricultural productivity. Munezero didn’t know his affinity for water was just beginning.
Munezero found her way as an international student in Nebraska with the help of the Undergraduate Fellows Program (CUSP) team at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which connected her to resources and mentors she needed.
“CASNR showed me all the resources and the right people to contact, and it created a sense of belonging and showed me that I had the support and guidance I needed,” Munezero said. .
“I attribute every success to CASNR because of all the doors that have been opened to me. The staff at CASNR are student and achievement oriented, ”she said. “Everyone wanted to help me and see me shine.”
Munezero sees each challenge she faces as an opportunity to make a new friend, develop adaptability, flexibility and experience different cultures. She has also immersed herself in the CASNR community, serving as a member of the ACISSE Week program board and leading students as a teaching assistant in two different departments.
Munezero found her place in the water world as a policy analysis intern at the Daugherty Water for Food Institute, a position she started last fall.
“Joining the Daugherty Water for Food Institute and the learning community has been a life-changing moment,” said Munezero.
As an undergraduate intern, Munezero worked to analyze groundwater transfer rules in Nebraska to understand their hydrogeological impacts, which helps define comprehensive policies to assist irrigators and water resource managers.
His experience with the Daugherty Water for Food Institute was a stepping stone to an internship opportunity with the North Platte Natural Resources District. Munezero, she spent the summer of 2019 working across all aspects of the department inspecting dams, taking flow meter readings, helping with chemigation, managing the water network district, and participating in hearings.
Munezero still wasn’t sure how she could embrace her passions – water, people, and politics – until now.
“I have listened to the farmers of Scottsbluff and Rwanda and heard similar issues between them,” said Munezero.
“I want to be in politics and I like being with people. What if I am that person who takes their concerns into account and develops water policy? I think I can be the best person.
Munezero is currently considering attending college in Nebraska before returning to Rwanda.
Natalie Jones | IANR Media