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Building a future

Deng Mabil Khot would like to build a better world—both literally and figuratively. He’s starting with a degree in engineering, but he says that’s just the beginning. “After five years working in the field, I’m planning to go to graduate school but not in engineering. Maybe law school or medical physics.

I’m fascinated by rules that are set in society. I want to explore that part too—why society is structured the way it is.” Deng has just completed an Engineering Diploma at Dal’s Truro campus and has now joined the Faculty of Engineering in Halifax to complete his degree. He says the biggest hurdle with online courses is the isolation. “With in-person classes, you can talk to your friend about the material and how hard it is but now you don’t have that connection with anyone.” Especially when you’re studying in a new country. Deng’s journey to Canada and Dalhousie was facilitated by earning a spot in the World University Service of Canada’s Student Refugee Program, which provides young refugees with opportunities to continue their education on Canadian campuses.

“There is so much potential in South Sudan. Getting more experience here in Canada might be part of my ability to help there. To give people, like my nieces, nephews and cousins, a chance to explore for themselves and allow their curious mind to develop.”

It was a long process, but he’s happy with the way everything is playing out at Dalhousie. He gives some credit to a key piece of advice: “One of the professors told me that my grades are my personal responsibility. That I control that success. It was a good push.”

This past summer, Deng was involved in medical physics research through an internship with Dr. Tim Bardouille in the Biosignal Lab, an experience that got him thinking about more future possibilities. Though he plans to stay in Canada for a while, Deng is also considering the idea of going home to South Sudan to inspire the next generation.