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The Mayambi Family: A UC Blue Ash Legacy

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Meet the Mayambi’s:

The Mayambi’s are no strangers to UC Blue Ash College. So far, four of the Mayambi siblings and one of their cousins have either graduated from or are currently attending UC Blue Ash College.

Jess Mayambi (21): Graduated UCBA and transferred to the Clifton campus, currently studying Human Resources & Organizational leadership with a minor in Business Administration and a certificate in Communications.

Romain Mayambi (19):  Currently attending UCBA, studying Pre-Business Administration.

Gift Mayambi (18): Currently attending UCBA, studying Pre-Business Administration.

Joyce Mayambi (16): Currently attending Blue Ash, enrolled in our Exploratory Studies program.

Benedict Kikonda (cousin, 18): Currently attending UCBA, studying Pre-Health Science to be a nurse.

Gift and Joyce came in to give us the low-down about what makes UC Blue Ash College such a good fit for their family.

Why Cincinnati?

The Mayambi family moved to Cincinnati 3 years ago, after growing up in The Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They were brought to the U.S. through their father’s job working for the Red Cross.

Joyce laughs when I ask why Cincinnati specifically, “A lot of people ask us that question! My dad lived [in the U.S.] before we came here, so our family friends who live [in Cincinnati] told him that this would be a great place for a family to live.”

Why UC Blue Ash College?

Jess was the first to attend UC Blue Ash and his initial decision was based off our affordable tuition. Another factor in his choice to attend UCBA was the class sizes and the fantastic resources that UCBA has to offer, along with the opportunities to get involved and be a student leader.

“The diversity here plays a huge role. When you come here you feel comfortable, you see people from different places. Everyone comes from a different environment so you’re not experiencing it by yourself” – Gift Mayambi, on why UCBA is a great fit for his family.

Joyce notes, “The community! UC uptown is a good place to be, but its too big for me. Here it’s a close community, you see the people that you constantly see in class, you’re like ‘oh I know that person!’ You’re able to make tight friendships and relationships.”

Due to the leniency of the age in which children may start school in Zimbabwe, the Mayambi’s entered high school in the states at a very young age. Now as a college student at 16, Joyce is happy to be in the comfortable environment of UCBA, especially with so many familiar faces in the halls, between her brothers, cousin, and all of their friends.

Being the youngest Mayambi, Joyce is easily recognized by teachers and advisors… but there seems to be a lot to live up to, “My advisor knows Gift and my oldest brother, so when I went in she was like ‘Oh you’re related to Gift! He has a special place in my heart!’ and I’m like ‘Dang it, how am I going to get a place in your heart if Gift already has it?!'” Joyce laughs.

Almost all of Gift’s professors this semester have previously had Romain in class, so Gift already has an “in” on all of his classes, “It’s definitely a good thing though.”

Gift appreciates the religious diversity and tolerance at UCBA as well, “It’s cool to see people who have different religions here. One of my friends who goes here is Muslim and he talks about the Koran, and we talk about the Bible. And then I have my other friend who doesn’t believe in anything so it’s cool to have that diversity.”

Majors? Plans?

This is Gift’s second year at UCBA, he plans to apply at DAAP at UC Uptown next year to study Industrial Design. Gift is keeping his options open though, “right now I’m doing Pre-business Administration kind of as a parallel major in case it doesn’t work out.”

Joyce graduated high school this past May, and started her first semester at UCBA this fall. She’s currently enrolled in the Exploratory Studies program, “I was planning on becoming a music therapist, and since UC doesn’t offer that [as a major], I was planning on maybe majoring in Music and minoring in Therapy.”

Both Joyce and Gift are active members of the UCBA student community. Joyce is a member of the Diversity Scholars and Gift is a Student Ambassador.

Family Dynamic?

“I mean, we’re friends!” says Gift. “We went to high school at the same time, the three of us, so we’re really close.”
Joyce jokes, “Yeah these are my friends technically, so I don’t have to work that hard to make new friends cause I already have them.”

As if having a built-in friend group wasn’t good enough, Gift, Joyce and Romain also have a band together called “Music Oasis”.
“We do a lot of covers, we don’t specifically focus on one genre, [Joyce] sings, [Romain] raps, and then I play the instruments,” says Gift, “I play four instruments: drums, guitar, keyboard and bongos.”
“And he was learning how to play the saxophone,” Joyce adds.

Joyce and Gift note that as a family they are very arts-oriented. Both parents can sing, the oldest brother, John, writes and produces his own music. Even Jess, the “smart guy” of the family, can still rap. Gift is fantastic at sketching, Romain is a talented photographer, Joyce can riff her face off, they can all play multiple instruments. Gift jokingly, yet accurately, labels his family as “artsy.”

When it comes down to it, the Mayambi’s are a family that appreciates art, culture, education, and each other. They continue to be a great addition to the halls of UCBA, a place of diversity and community.

Check out (and like) Music Oasis’s page on Facebook.

About Olive Wright

Olive Wright is the Communications Intern with the Communications Department at UC Blue Ash College for the 2017-18 academic year. Look forward to seeing Olive's contributions to UCBANOW and www.ucblueash.edu all year long.