Biyeun Buczyk loves information.
She Googles 50 times a day.
She’ll want to know, say, the population of Uganda. Its current political state.
Or, patterns in the economy of African countries.
“I want more and more information so I can learn about my environment. Information can change your life,” she says.
The 19-year-old sophomore, who was born in the Philippines and raised in North Bend, Washington, is now working with InterConnection Uganda, a refurbishing center that provides community members in Uganda with computer skills and affordable second-hand computers.
She has traveled to Uganda three times — most recently on a fellowship from MIT’s Public Service Center — because she most wants to provide children there with the wealth of information that is available on the Internet. By stretching their hands across a keyboard, she says, they can have access to the world.
“I keep coming back because I see so much potential in the children of Uganda to really change their country, potential I do not see in the adults, who seem to have settled and lost motivation for a better life. Education is the only way out. And a computer is so much better for the children than having an old textbook that you’re sharing with five other people.”
Uganda, she says, is a nation where technology is suddenly becoming more prominent. “Every year, there are more Internet cafes and more demand for computers. That’s what this program is addressing. People are beginning to realize that these machines are driving the global economy, and if they want to stay on top of the game, they need a computer.”
If, say, a farmer had access to the Internet, she adds, “they could look up effective ways of farming and become more productive. Or, if you just type a few keywords on Google, you could come up with an idea for a business that could change your country.”
Buczyk, who is a Max E. Gellert Scholar, says a scholarship is an amazing investment. “By changing our lives, we can go to places like Uganda and change other people’s lives, and then those people can go change more lives. A scholarship is one of the smartest investments you can make. You think you’re giving to one person. But you’re actually giving to a whole community, a whole country perhaps.
“It inspires me so much that someone would want to help a student achieve a dream. I want to use my MIT education for the betterment of the world. I want to teach and share what I learn with everyone I meet. The whole purpose of information is for it to be made known.”