Astou Nkouyate is ready for the future and whatever comes her way.
The East Mecklenburg High senior is a first-generation American. Her parents were born in Mali, the eighth-largest country in Africa.
“Growing up I was pretty much your typical teen,” said Astou. “I’m typical in the sense that I enjoy watching Netflix, YouTube, reading e-books and spending time with my family and friends.”
The 18-year-old said she’s enjoyed her time in CMS, especially at East Meck. “I really love this school, and I’m so glad I spent the last four years here. I love the diversity of the school. There are so many different people from different walks of life, and it’s been cool to interact with them.”
East Meck is where Astou developed her love of reading, writing, self-reflection and nurturing relationships with teachers and friends. As a student on the International Baccalaureate track, she’s spent a lot of time concentrating on academics.
But she’s also given back to the Charlotte community. For several years, Astou has been involved with NewGen Peacebuilders.
NewGen Peacebuilders is a youth peace education program designed for high school and university students. It draws on principles of peace education similar to Rotary Peace Fellows, as well as best practices in peace and global education for youth.
Astou has served as a NewGen Peacebuilder intern, conversation guide and mentor.
All this hard work has paid off for Astou. She’s earned several honors, including a Levine scholarship from UNC Charlotte, and was chosen as a National Merit Scholarship Program finalist.
But it’s a QuestBridge scholarship that has provided her with hopes of a bright future.
Founded in 1994, QuestBridge is a national nonprofit that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities.
“Astou has met every challenge thrown before her to achieve her goals,” said school counselor Sydney Burgess. “She never lost confidence that if she did all that was asked of her, she would earn the QuestBridge scholarship and an outstanding free education. I am so excited about what this young woman has accomplished and all the possibilities ahead for her.”
As a QuestBridge scholarship recipient, Astou was granted a four-year scholarship to Yale University.
She plans to major in political science but looks forward to exploring other topics.
Astou said she’s thrilled and excited to become a Yale bulldog and spend the next four years in New Haven, Conn.