Feza Mto

From Refugee Camp to Pre-Med – GateWay Student Perseveres

Aspirations of becoming a doctor aren’t all that rare among college students. The reasons for those aspirations, though, can vary widely. And for GateWay student Feza Mto, her reasons are inherently personal and unique.

Like many college students, Feza is active with on-campus clubs and functions. She’s a member of groups like Women Rising, the Math Club, EXCEL Program, World Explore International, Student Government, and Phi Theta Kappa. “These clubs have introduced me to many people who have helped support me, especially because of my background,” she said.

Feza was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to civil war, she and her family were forced to relocate to Tanzania as refugees when she was just a young child in 1996. For 20 years, her family of 13 lived in a Tanzanian refugee camp of 30,000 people – and only one doctor. 

“Unfortunately, due to the lack of resources, many residents died, including one of my family members,” Feza said. “This situation has been the inspiration for me to pursue a career in the medical field.” She hopes to become a gynecologist or pediatrician. 

“I have seen many women and children die because they could not receive the right medical attention,” Feza said.

Feza will be transferring to the University of Arizona in 2021, as she is working to complete many of her prerequisites, even though she has completed her Associate of Science (Pre-Med). 

“Studying at GateWay created many opportunities to interact with other people from different backgrounds,” Feza said reflecting on her time at GateWay. “I try to acknowledge, appreciate, and learn from others who have various backgrounds.” 

“I would like to show appreciation for GateWay faculty like Shannon Ruth, Dr. Joseph Swaba, Mr. H. Wildey, the EXCEL Program, and the Learning Center,” she said.

A first-generation college student, Feza is also the first woman in her family to attend college. “When I graduated from high school, my younger sister loved the gown and said ‘I also want to graduate!’,” she said. “Now, instead of her not doing her homework, she is focusing on graduating, which gives her strength to work hard every day.”