Hometown: Atlanta, GA
"At the age of five, my life changed," Egal wrote in his admission essay, describing the night when he and his family fled the violence of Mogadishu, Somalia, to a Kenyan refugee camp. Eventually, Egal and his mother were able to get to the home of an uncle in Atlanta, where the young boy "learned English from Sesame Street and Barney."
A Blessed Chain of Events
Able to enroll at Atlanta's Westminster School, where his mom worked in security, he worked hard to prepare for admission to a good college. He was accepted at Davidson, which he describes as "Westminster on steroids." This was the place for him, and The Davidson Trust and Snider Scholarship made it possible to enroll. "I appreciate every bit of support I've gotten here," he says. "The opportunity to go to college debt-free-it's hard to believe."
Maybe it's no surprise that he's decided to major in political science. He has taken classes with Professor Ken Menkhaus, the leading U.S. expert on Somalia, who encouraged him also to look at the Davidson in Washington program and study abroad in the Middle East or Eastern Europe. "Egypt or Turkey. Israel is still an option that I want to weigh, too."
One of the First
Egal is one of 58 members in his class who are the first in their families to go to college. He is very aware that his parents did not have such opportunities. "There is a lot more pressure on you to succeed." He is considering graduate school in foreign relations. And while he is interested in humanitarian work, "I need to think about being able to help my family," he says.
Egal has found it easy to make friends at Davidson. "You can be involved in anything here—you can be anything you want to be."