Yoldy Jacques-Simon

Computer Science – Class of 2012

Educational opportunities are limited in the small town on Haiti’s northwestern tip where Yoldy grew up and where both of his parents still work the land.Yet Yoldy says he and his five siblings were always taught the importance of education. “Especially if you’re in the countryside, education can set you on a good path,” he says.

Yoldy took the initiative to study hard in secondary school, and searched for scholarships to attend university after graduation. Even though none of his leads panned out, Yoldy enrolled at Haiti’s state university. Four months into his studies, a cardiovascular illness forced him to withdraw from school and take time to recuperate. After recovering, Yoldy found HELP and was able to transfer to the computer science institute. He’s happy there, and says that the Taekwondo class he’s taking helps with his health.

While waiting for his school to reopen in the months following the January 2010 earthquake, Yoldy traveled back to his hometown. He volunteered providing basic computer skills training and speaking to young people in the community about the importance of education, which he describes as “the basic element that can change the country.”

Looking towards the future, Yoldy says “I want to help mechanize and develop agricultural practices through technology.” Someday, he would like to return to the Haitian provinces and use his education to help “transform the territory” through technological advancement. He dreams of schools equipped with computer labs and internet access, teachers with access to shared resources and online teaching tools, science labs with computer-based models, students engaged in research, and computer training classes for the general public. “I feel very close to my dream,” he says. “My university education is equipping me to bring positive change to my community.”