Bouampoundi Brigitte Thiombiano is a Spring 2022 graduate and this year’s Hostos Valedictorian. A Harlem resident, Brigitte is originally from Burkina Faso, West Africa. All her schooling was in French, and she started to learn English as soon as she arrived in the U.S. in 2014.
Thiombiano is a small business owner in the transportation industry. She said. “I work part-time in my business so that I can attend school full-time.” Focusing on Business Management, she said she loved her classes, which played a significant role in improving the way she does business. Thiombiano credits Adjunct Lecturer Lauren Jones's support and knowledge from two classes she took in Business at Hostos for making a difference in her journey and her quest to become a successful businesswoman.
Although she worries about her English accent, it was the manner she talked that drew the attention of one of her clients. He was intrigued and astonished by Thiombiano's narrative and told her about CUNY and Hostos, which she discovered quite close to her home. It was the right word at the right moment. Also, Thiombiano has a friend at Hostos who also told her about Hostos and assisted her in her decision and thus in the enrollment process.
Thiombiano knew she wanted to help people since she was a child. In fact, she made history in her country in two different spheres. First, she entered the military when Burkina Faso allowed women into military service, and she served for several years. Secondly, an opportunity to serve a 14-month-long mission with the United Nations in Darfur changed her life and earned her an accolade from the government and a medal of recognition of duties in the service of peace of African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Thiombiano went on to serve in the Ministry of Women, where she supported women dealing with issues ranging from domestic violence to female genitalia mutilation.
Her dream is to one day work for the United Nations, or any nonprofit organization and intends to continue her studies in International Relations. So far Thiombiano has been accepted at City College, Baruch, Hunter and from NYU with the CCTOP program for Fall 2022.
"It's been difficult not having my close family by my side, but I've met a new family in New York that has been there for me since day one."  Thiombiano reflects. “Being Valedictorian is beyond what I ever imagined. I was just working tirelessly on my homework and spending an inordinate amount of time. And, as my father usually says, "keep thriving until you reach the sky."