Hometown Hero Desta Seifu
College is meant to be a road to a bright future. But that road can be strewn with obstacles that prevent students from succeeding, like: the need to work to support yourself or family members while you go to school; learning styles or language barriers that make comprehension of tough subjects difficult; poorly written textbooks or “meh” teachers. Desta Seifu understands all these challenges.
The Assistant Director of the Academic Bridge Program at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), Seifu dedicates his time, both on and off the clock, helping students navigate college. The Academic Bridge Program focuses on helping students transition from high school to college. He and his staff of about 15 individuals help students with supplemental tutoring, mentoring and guidance through their challenging courses. But in his spare time, he also works to help students at all levels understand their science and math classes. This alleviates a huge element of the struggle for the students in his program that might have jobs, help take care of family members, or are not prepared adequately for the college experience.
He started out helping students through tutoring. Having graduated UTD with a degree in Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, Seifu is well-versed in complex students and the challenges they may face while trying to succeed in these courses. He uses his many years of experience to help new students avoid pitfalls and pushes them to reach for their full potential. As demand for his help grew, he began developing short instructional videos that teach concepts in an easy-to-follow manner with examples. Over the years, Seifu has produced almost 1,000 of these videos that are free and accessible to any student with access to the Internet. They are watched in more than 160 countries across the world, and cover topics such as biology, physics, neuroscience and more.