Grade: Graduated in May 2014 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Our Germ Girl of the month, Elodie Kassa, graduated with a double major in Global Security and Economics. She just started grad school with the Masters of Sustainable Peace Building at UWM.
Elodie’s best friend, Catherine Tchoungoua, had these wonderful things to say about her:
“When i think about Elodie, the words driven, intellect, school, laughter, outgoing, and most of all loyal [come to mind]. I have known Elodie for 14 years. I met her when she first arrived to the US and did not know a word of English. I teased her a lot and that bond we created as 10-year-olds has grown stronger. Elodie has grown up to be a successful, beautiful young woman, who not only sets goals but achieves each one. I am very proud of the woman she has become today. I am excited for her future and the future of our friendship as we become older and wiser.”
Q: As you look back on high school, what advice would you give your high school self?
A: Each time I am asked about my high school experience, I always reply with “I hated high school.” But now that I am 24 and I think about it, I would tell 16-year-old Elodie “It’s not a big deal.” For some reason everything that happened to me in high school felt like a big deal; I always felt like the world would end. I worried too much about the way I looked and what people thought about me. I did not have many friends, just a really close group of 4 girls. I realize now that it is not a big deal that I never had a date to school dances. It is not a big deal that I did not excel in Chemistry or Physics because I excelled in other areas. It is not a big deal that one boy always found a way to hurt my feelings at least once a month. Although I played it off most of the time, sometimes I could not move past it. And I also realized that my parents were not out to get me. They just wanted and still want what is best for me. So to 16-year-old Elodie, I say, “Honey, relax, those shoes are not the only ones you will want, you will never see that boy again, and be more considerate to mom and dad.”
Q: Tell us three things you cannot live without.
A: The number one thing I cannot live without is music. I love music; all different types of music. Each song, each artist tells me a story. I do not have a favorite song, but my top 2 favorite artists are Michael Jackson and Bob Marley. They both have timeless sounds that I hope my children and grandchildren get to hear. Music helps me deal with the happiest and toughest moments of my life, and I cannot picture my world without music. Second on the list would be my family. I have an enormous family. Both of my parents have 7 siblings each, my stepparents also have about 8 siblings each. Many of them live outside of the U.S., so I do not get to see or talk to them very often, but they are a part of who I am. I love and cherish each and every one of them. Third on the list would be my camera. There is nothing better than coming back from a trip and having pictures to help you relive some of the memories you made with your family or friends. Or coming home from that trip and putting together a scrapbook that you will always have.
Q: When you have free time, what do you do?
A: When I have free time, I usually watch movies. I usually have a hard time finding time to relax due to the fact that I have school full time, and I have three jobs. Movies usually just help me escape and relax.
Q: What is a life lesson you have learned that has helped shape you as a person?
A: I have learned not to take things for granted. I may fall off the wagon sometimes, but every day since the age of 14, I try to appreciate every moment of my life, and I try to be thankful for what I have.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I hope to one day work for an organization such as the United Nations, the World Bank, or the IMF. I would like to be able to influence policy in favor of third world nations. But the bottom line is I want to be happy working in a job that allows me to live comfortably and to travel around the world.
Q: What is your idea of the perfect 24 hours?
A: My perfect 24 hours consists of sleeping in then hiking followed by a relaxing day on the beach enjoying the sun.
Q: Who is your inspiration?
A: Queen Rania of Jordan and her work for women and children.
Q: What is your favorite book or quote?
A: My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. It is my favorite love story. The tale of two people who are too proud to admit they love each other because of their prejudices, but in the end love wins.
Q: What is/would be your favorite place to visit?
A: My favorite place to visit would be Libreville, Gabon. It is my place of birth, and it is also where some of my family lives, and I always feel like I am home when I visit, which is not very often.