Scholarship assistance helps deliver a world of possibilities to Yacub Muzee

The student from Kenya will graduate in 2015 with a degree in aerospace engineering

Photo of scholarship recipient Yacub Muzee
Yacub Muzee, a junior majoring in aerospace engineering at Wichita State, is an intern at Cessna working as a quality analyst.

Yacub Muzee’s expression turns thoughtful when he talks about the opportunities he’s been given at Wichita State University: meeting people from all over the world, getting an internship at Cessna, learning from world-class faculty.

    He’s even taking flying lessons, a dream he’s had since childhood.

    Receiving scholarship assistance has made much of that possible, he acknowledges.

    “I have sincerely appreciated the scholarship I receive,” Muzee says. “It really is a big deal to me, to know that there are people who set up this scholarship and helped make my education possible. It is very inspiring and meaningful to me.”

    Muzee, 27, is one of four recipients of a $4,000 scholarship established through the James and Catherine Buck Charitable Trust, set up in 2004 through the estates of John and Jim Buck, co-owners of the former Buck’s Department Store in Wichita. John Buck named the scholarship in honor of his parents.

    When Muzee came to Wichita from his homeland of Kenya in 2008, he attended WSU for a year with financial help from his parents. But when it became difficult for them to continue that help, he enrolled at Cowley County Community College to save money and get an associate degree. Now a junior and back at Wichita State, he intends to graduate in spring 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

“Wichita State has provided everything I need … to achieve my goals.”

- Yacub Muzee

    After graduation, he hopes to work for a year or two and then return to Wichita State to pursue a graduate degree. Eventually, he wants a career in aviation as a structure and stress analyst, someone who makes sure planes are performing as expected. He plans to remain in the United States because opportunities for work in aviation are greater here than in Kenya.

    While at Wichita State, Muzee has been able to participate in recreational activities such as soccer. He’s also a member of the Society of Physics Students and the local chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers, through which he has performed community service projects for the Kansas Food Bank and the Salvation Army. His internship at Cessna made him eligible to take flying lessons at a reduced rate.

    Wichita State, he says, has given him every opportunity to succeed.

    “I can say that because of Wichita State I can see myself achieving the goals I have set out for myself,” Muzee said. “Wichita State has provided everything I need: the environment is here, the resources are here, everything is in place to achieve my goals here.”

    Muzee learned about the aerospace engineering program at Wichita State through friends of his older brother, who was attending school in Wichita. Back in Kenya, he had waited the required two years after high school to apply to college, only to learn that the only program open to him was in horticulture.

    “I wasn’t interested in horticulture,” he says with a laugh. “That’s when I decided to learn more about opportunities in the United States.”

    Although living in this country was a big culture change, he has grown to enjoy the differences.

    “People are more open here, friendly, and the diversity is something I appreciate,” Muzee says. “I have met people from all around the world.”

    Muzee recently wrote a thank you letter to those who selected him to receive the James and Catherine Buck Scholarship.

    “Your generosity has enlightened me on the importance and true meaning of helping others and giving back to the community,” he wrote. “I am so inspired and hope to extend the same generosity to others one day.”


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