Senior wins full scholarship to graduate school

Scholarship winner Ricardo Kabila '13 (left) poses with his friend Fabiola Miakassissa '13.
Scholarship winner Ricardo Kabila '13 (left) poses with his friend Fabiola Miakassissa '13.

Ricardo Kabila ’13, a double major in physics and mathematics with a minor in economics, has been awarded a full scholarship to graduate school through ExxonMobil’s (Esso) Angolan Scholars Program.

The competitive grant, which covers full tuition, housing, living and medical expenses, will allow Kabila, who is originally from Angola, to pursue a master’s degree in the fields of petroleum geophysics and/or petroleum engineering at a leading university in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Kabila’s interest in petroleum stems from his experience growing up in Angola.

“I was often faced with the sad reality that, on the one hand, Angola had a potentially resourceful earth, but on the other hand, a lack of technical and/or competitive expertise to effectively explore the resources in the most beneficial way for Angolans,” he said.

Kabila, a Davis United World College scholar, says his undergraduate studies at Connecticut College, as well as his pursuit of a petroleum geoscience degree through this program, will help him to address the issues he sees playing out in his home country.

“The scholarship opportunity will enable me to develop the tools I need to help Angola manage the production of oil and gas in a way that brings growth and development, and improves the standard of living of Angolans,” he said.

Having left Angola to pursue a liberal arts education, Kabila is certain that his experiences at Connecticut College, both academic and extracurricular, have prepared him well for his future in graduate school. He says professors Mohamed Diagne, Warren Johnson, Christopher Hammond, Maria Cruz-Saco and Michael Weinstein are just a few of the people who have helped him along the way.

Johnson said he has been impressed with Kabila’s openness to experience, which author and psychology professor Frank Sulloway identifies as one of the key factors that separates the greatest scientists from other gifted individuals.  

“Ricardo has consistently tried to learn about a variety of subjects with an eye on finding one that suits him,” Johnson said. “I can remember flirtations with statistics, mathematical biology, mathematical physics, operations research and mathematics of finance.”

Kabila says his classes in physics, math and economics, as well as his participation and leadership in campus organizations like the African Student Union , Presidential Leadership Seminars and Peggotty Investment Club , have sharpened his interpersonal, collaborative and organizational skills.

“Whether I end up returning to Angola or pursuing other international opportunities, I hope to apply my knowledge to effectively develop and use advanced geophysical, mathematical and or/computational methods to find solutions to real world problems.”

- By Bailey Bennett ’14

April 15, 2013