sohenga depestre

Sohenga Depestre ’17 Named Collegian of the Year

Sohenga Depestre has been named Gordon’s 2017 Collegian of the Year, a longstanding tradition that honors the graduating senior who has made the greatest total contribution to the College. Sohenga rose to the top among the five finalists chosen for their mature Christian character, academic prowess, and leadership in curricular and co-curricular activities.

A Clarendon Scholar from Randolph, Massachusetts, and the daughter of hardworking Haitian immigrants, Sohenga is passionate about serving her community—both on campus and at home. At Gordon, Sohenga has been involved with the International Justice Mission, ALANA, service-learning trips to Haiti and Detroit, and the Multicultural Initiatives Office.

As a student, Sohenga put her psychology major and neuroscience minor to work, conducting research with Dr. Bryan Auday (psychology) in the neuroscience lab, and presenting research work at Symposium with Dr. Diana Schor (social work and sociology) and Jennifer Brink (director of academic advising). She was also a student presenter at the Q Commons conference and at Admissions events.

For three years, Sohenga served in Residence Life as a resident advisor and apartment coordinator. Always going above and beyond her responsibilities, she co-founded an annual women’s empowerment event in Chase Hall (“Unmasked”) and took on the role of residence hall worship director and Rec-IM organizer and participant. She was also a peer mentor for the Elevate Leadership Lab and for The Great Conversation first-year seminar, and has assisted the director of the Clarendon Scholars Program in training successor cohorts.

A member of the gospel choir and various Chapel bands at Gordon, Sohenga also enjoys serving as a drummer for her church, Beraca Evangelical Baptist Church, where she is a Sunday school teacher and youth events coordinator. In 2015, she completed an internship at New Life Counseling & Wellness Center in Randolph, where she helped create a local summer resource guide to connect families to free and affordable summer programs and food distribution sites in Boston and the Greater Boston area.

Known on campus for her big smile and even bigger heart, Sohenga says, “I love connecting with people, learning from other, and being poured into by the people I meet. I’ve learned so much about myself, God and the world by living and learning alongside the incredible people at Gordon.”

Sohenga was also the recipient of the Dick and Judy Gross Servant-Leader Award Scholarship, and has earned both Dean’s List Honors and Presidential Honors.