It's a long way home
Masseny Dosso smiles broadly when she says she came home to attend North Dakota State University. She grew up in Abidjan, a city in West Africa's Ivory Coast, but the sophomore business major was born in Fargo.
Her father, Harouna, attended NDSU through a scholarship program, earning his master's degree in plant sciences in 1981 and his doctorate in 1983. Masseny was born while he was here.
Harouna went on to a research career with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, followed by work with three United Nations organizations (the Food and Agriculture Organization, Children's Fund and the High Commissioner for Refugees) and now is a crop researcher with the African Development Bank in his homeland of the Ivory Coast. He remained loyal to NDSU through the years, and when the time came for his daughter to pursue a degree, he made his feelings known.
My dad didn't give me a choice, Masseny says with a laugh. He said you are going to Fargo that's it. It's a good university and good place to study.
For someone who left Fargo when she was only 10 months old, the prospect of departing the tropics for North Dakota left her with a few doubts. She arrived on Jan. 7, 2000. How is the place? she wondered. How will my host family recognize me? How is the university?
She also worried about the cold. We don't know what snow is in my country. We only see it on TV.
It all turned out fine. She was warmly welcomed by fellow students residing in Burgum Hall. And to make things easier, Masseny's host family, Vern and Darlene Feil, also hosted her father 20 years before. Actually, I call them Grandpa and Grandma Feil. I feel very close to them, she said. They were among the first to see Masseny after her mother, Nassere, gave birth. They were there at Dakota Hospital on the day I was born.
Campus landmarks also have given her some bearings. Whenever I go by University Village, I say, That's where I used to be when I was a baby.'
Masseny plans a career in international banking. She is delighted with her classes and expects them to prepare her well for the workplace. NDSU is a good place to study and Fargo is a great place to live, she said. If I have to move, I will look for a city like Fargo. The people are really nice and I feel like I'm home here.
Masseny also says her sister, Zeynab, and brother, Vamorris, are dreaming of coming to NDSU when the time comes.
But there is one thing that she still has had a hard time getting used to the weather. It's too hot in the summer. It's even warmer than in my country, she said remembering the 80 degree days of the Ivory Coast. I think I like the winter here very much. I actually don't mind the cold.