Denis Abaine

Denis Abaine

Denis Abaine

denis abaineDenis Abaine was born in a village called Kalungu in the district of Masaka, which is part of the central region of Uganda and contains the capital of city of Kampala.  His village was about 200 kilometers from Kampala.  Denis’s father is Mr. Bagambisa Julius.  Born in 1963, he was a police officer who retired last year as a sergeant in the Uganda Police Force.  Born in 1973, Denis’s mother is named Musiime Jesca. She was a farmer who grew millet, gnuts, maize, beans, and cassava.  Neither of his parents had much formal education.  He has one older sister and three older brothers.  They all had some formal schooling, but none to the extent of Denis.  His family is Christian, and they are part of the Mukiga ethnic group.  While his family lived in the central region, most of the Mukiga come from the western part of Uganda.

When Denis was around six years old, his family moved to the village of Nkoni because of his father’s job.  Located about twenty kilometers from Kalungu, Nkoni was a trading center with several schools.  Denis attended the St. Herman’s Primary School there, which was run by the Catholic Church.  At the same time that he completed his education at St. Herman’s, Denis’s father was transferred to Nankondo in the district of Sembabule (also in the central region). There, Denis attended Nankondo Bright Junior School. This was a school run by Muslims, and he sat for his primary leaving examinations there, completing them in 2013. The following year Denis began attending secondary school at St. Joseph’s, which was a Catholic school back in Nkoni.  In 2017, he completed his secondary certificate by passing his “ordinary” or “O” level exams (as they are called in Uganda).  Two years later, he completed more exams and received his “A” level (advanced) certificate of education.  All of this took place at St. Joseph’s High School. 

Denis focused upon three subjects in high school, history, geography, and fine arts.  While these were the subjects that he studied the most and passed for his examinations, he also took courses in information and computer technology and English composition.  He focused on two different topics in history, European history and African nationalism.  He had the same instructor for both classes, Mr. Joseph Musabe.  His favorite topic in these courses was the French Revolution, and he remembers learning about the French king, his wife, the upheaval of the era, and Napoleon Bonaparte.  Of course, he also studied a number of other topics, including World War I and its aftermath, including the Treaty of Versailles, the formation of the United Nations, and the Cold War.  He really liked history because of his instructor.  He was very passionate when he taught, and he made history come alive. He wanted to be like him.  He had some talent for art, but he chose to study history because of this instructor.  In addition to Mr. Joseph, he also liked reading books and understanding why things happened in history. He has fond memories of discussions and debates with his fellow students about cause and effect in the past.  His second favorite subject was geography.

After completing his A levels, he was one of the top students in his district, and he hoped to get a government scholarship to attend Makerere University in Kampala, which is the best college in Uganda.  However, he did not get this scholarship because it was so competitive.  His father did not have enough money to send his to Makerere.  He then shifted to attending to Kyambogo University, which is also located in Kampala. It is, in Denis’s opinion, the second-best college in the country.  Kyambogo accepted him, but they placed him in the art education program. His father and his extended family all gathered funds to pay for his education for the first two years.  After his father retired, Denis was able to get a scholarship for the final year.  He finished his degree in art education at Kyambogo in December of 2023.

denis abaineDenis is interested in studying in the United States because the universities in that country are more research-oriented and have a different curriculum from the colleges in Uganda.  Due to his interest in studying in the United States, Denis joined the Facebook group of EducationUSA in Kampala.  He saw when they announced a webinar for Rowan University.  After doing some research online on Rowan, he decided to participate and journeyed to the United States Embassy, which hosted the webinar.  It was during that webinar that Denis met Gokhan Alkanat and Bill Carrigan. Rowan University appeals to Denis for several reasons. First, he likes the fact that there is a comprehensive education at Rowan, allowing him to take courses in several areas.  Second, and more important, he is excited to study with the faculty of the history department.  Not only has he gotten to know me over several interactions, beginning at the webinar, but he has also done research on all of the faculty, and he is impressed by the breadth of history that they cover and by their research accomplishments.  He has been passionate about history for a long time, and he is excited to be able to do real research in the field.  If things work out well at Rowan in the history program, he would like to join the Combined Advanced Degree program, which would allow him to expedite getting his Master’s degree in history from Rowan.  His J-1 visa, if he is approved, will allow him to study for four years.  He hopes to get both his BA and his MA in history from Rowan during this time.

Denis has several hobbies.  He plays volleyball, and, in high school, his team made it to the national championships, though they did not win.  He also loves to play chess, playing with his older brother and also online when he has free time.  He likes reading for pleasure.  Recent books that he has read or is reading include John Fiske’s The Destiny of Man, Robert Powers’s The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad, and Mark Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.

Note:  This biographical sketch is based on an interview conducted by Bill Carrigan over Zoom, January 19, 2023.


Denis Abaine to William Carrigan
Email Received January 13, 2024

Dear Professor Carrigan,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to share some incredibly exciting news with you - I have received the acceptance letter from Rowan University! I am beyond thrilled, and I couldn’t wait to share this news with you, Professor Carrigan. 

Your mentorship and advice have been invaluable throughout the college application process. Your insights, suggestions, and feedback on my personal statement and application materials have undoubtedly contributed to this achievement. I am grateful for your guidance and the time you dedicated to helping me showcase my strengths and aspirations.

I am incredibly excited to join the Class of 2024 at Rowan University. This opportunity represents a new chapter in my life, filled with endless possibilities and growth. I am eager to immerse myself in the vibrant campus community, explore new areas of study, and engage in meaningful experiences that will shape my future.

As I prepare for this exciting transition, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your friendship and support. I would love to keep you updated on my progress at Rowan University

Once again, Your guidance is invaluable, and I am truly fortunate to have you in my life. Please let me know if there is a convenient time for a phone call or if you prefer to communicate via email.

Thank you once again for everything, Professor Carrigan. I am excited to be accepted and I am grateful to have you by my side.

Warmest regards,