Ndayishimiye Florence, who recently earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Presbyterian College, is first recipient of the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs-Presbyterian Fellowship.
A native of Tanzania, Florence and her parents survived the Rwandan and Burundian Genocide during the mid-1990s to settle in Dillon, South Carolina. After enrolling at Presbyterian College, Florence became a leader on campus as a founding member and current secretary of PC’s first NAACP chapter and president of the Political Science Club. Her senior research focused on the effects of British versus French colonialism in African countries, combining statistical analysis with case studies. Her honors research project in political science was an extension of that project.
Florence plans to focus on a nonprofit or diplomatic path at the O’Neill School.
“As I’ve grown older, I’ve always wondered why the things my family went through happened in the first place,” Florence said. “That’s how I got interested in politics – finding ways to learn from that experience and affect change. “It starts with individuals. Nothing changes if we don’t change or bring about awareness or make some changes ourselves. If we wait for everybody else to do it, we’re just saying maybe.”
The O’Neill-Presbyterian Fellowship was established in 2021 to provide PC students the chance to pursue their graduate education with the top-ranked public affairs school in the nation.
“This partnership is about developing opportunities,” said Siân Mooney, dean of the O’Neill School. “Our programs equip students with the real-world tools they need to make a difference, and this partnership will only serve to create a positive impact. We’re excited to welcome Ndayishimiye to our school and look forward to future collaborations with Presbyterian College students.”
The O’Neill School is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2023 “Best Graduate Public Affairs Programs” by U.S. News & World Report, O’Neill ranks first in the country. Additionally, five of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings, including top rankings for its nonprofit management, public finance and budgeting, and environmental policy and management programs.