Beruktawit Gebreamlak

2022 Senior Spotlights


Zoe MacDiarmid

Beruktawit Gebreamlak at Wilde Lake’s 2022 culture day representing Ethiopia. She moved to Maryland from Ethiopia at age eight.

In the first grade, Beruktawit Gebreamlak discovered her dream career in an event she describes as a “funny accident.”

In her class, there was a boy with whom she was “rivals,” with that drove her to work harder to get the highest rank in the class. She said they were neck-and-neck to be first in the class all year. “If he’d get number one, I’d get number two. If I got number one he’d get number two,” she said.
One day, her class was asked to say what they wanted to be when they grew up.

“He just chose astronaut. And out of that competitiveness that I had with him, I chose to be an astronaut,” she said.

Though her career choice came from wanting to beat her classmate, she started to look into what a job as an astronaut would entail. “A couple days, maybe even weeks after that, I started to say, ‘What is this that I said I wanted to become?’”

She began her research and discovered a passion for a new field.

Beruktawit emigrated from Ethiopia when she was eight. She is a first-generation college student.

As a first-generation college student, she said she was largely left to her own devices when it came time for applications. “Trying to maneuver what college has been like has been more self-advocating and reaching out on my own, but my parents have been helping me in ways they know how to,” she said.

Her parents sacrificed a lot for her education, which she says is one of the main reasons she could go into such a competitive and difficult field.

“I’m not just doing this for myself. I’m also doing it for them,” she said. “I want to be at a place where I can support them like they supported me.”

Beruktawit will attend Columbia University in New York City on a full-ride QuestBridge scholarship. She plans to double major in physics and mathematics, with her final goal being to become an astronaut for NASA, the career choice she made eleven years ago.

“Not many students have the opportunity that I have,” she said. “I was at the same place, the same school as them, but I am here now and am thankful for that. And I’m thankful for my parents as well.”