Joshua Mutshaila

The first thing anyone learns about Joshua Mutshaila is that he’s extroverted and playful. When he agreed to meet us by the Hungry Husky Food Truck, we explained that our USM Foundation staff member would wear a Boston Celtics hat so he could be recognized. “OK,” he replied, “I’ll wear my Golden State Warriors jersey then.” (For those who don’t follow sports, the Warriors had recently defeated the Celtics in the NBA Finals). 

The cool autumn air didn’t lend itself to basketball jerseys, but he was as bright, friendly, and funny as expected—it must run in the family. In addition to Joshua appearing in the Great University Campaign Launch video, his older brother Emmanuel served as co-host for the launch event and dazzled the crowd with his charisma and off-the-cuff jokes. 

Both Joshua and Emmanuel are attending the University of Southern Maine in part thanks to a Promise Scholarship, which are awarded to economically disadvantaged and first-generation college students referred from partner youth-serving organizations across the state of Maine. Joshua was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and came to the US from South Africa in 2017, one of many new Mainers who brings great energy to the state and is immediately eager to give back to his new home. 

“USM has definitely played a large role in my life by opening financial doors for me and my family through the Promise Scholarship Program,” he said. “Apart from financial assistance, USM has prepared me greatly to tackle the current situations our state is facing through building connections and networking via the career hub. The assistance I am receiving from advisors and from the career hub has sparked a passion in me to further my education by aspiring to attend the UMaine Law School in pursuit of a Law degree. I would then use the degree to work in policy to tackle the current issue of homelessness that plagues our city. That is a minor snapshot of my academic pursuit through USM.” 

He’s beginning this journey with a double major in Political Science and Criminology, and long days in Glickman Library which he describes as “his second home,” a place where education and relaxation converge. Prior to falling in love with the library, he spent his free time in the Multicultural Diversity  Center, where he’d watch soccer games and have friendly debates with students of all backgrounds. “That was where I personally spent most of my freshman year during the pandemic, studying alone. With nobody there during 2020, I would do my schoolwork, pray, and eat lunch. It is special for me, because it grew on me as the years went by.” 

As with most Promise Scholars, Joshua shows an uncommon commitment to making the most of his USM experience—proving that the program not only transforms individual lives and families, but also enriches our entire region for generations to come. “I have applied consistency, persistence, and overall love toward my education,” he said. “I am dedicated to my school because of the opportunities USM has granted to me and my family. I am truly grateful for the chance the school has taken on me and I have made a promise to myself to be a future donor to the University once I have finished Law School, as a way to give back to the school and to the community.” 

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