Getting to Know Michael Degaga ‘21

April 09, 2021

Photo of Michael Degaga

Biomedical engineering major Michael Degaga ‘21 was drawn to SEAS because of its tight knit academic community. “This has allowed me to develop close relationships with my professors, advisors, and students in my major,” the senior reflects. The school’s physical spaces appealed to Degaga, too. “I was also impressed by the state-of-the-art engineering building and the laboratories and classrooms housed within it when I first visited GW,” he notes. 

During his time at SEAS, Degaga excelled academically, receiving dean’s list recognition seven out of eight semesters. He also received the Norman B. Ames Award, which recognizes a senior who has made outstanding contributions to the school. 

Outside of the classroom, Degaga was actively involved with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), having served in several executive board positions before becoming co-president as a senior. “NSBE has been like a family to me,” Degaga shares. “I have found the NSBE community and its resources immensely helpful during my four years of engineering studies.” The organization allowed Degaga to develop many personal connections, which he values deeply. “I greatly enjoyed bonding with other NSBE members during our events and being a mentor to underclassmen NSBE members,” he adds.   

Degaga was also a SEASSPAN student mentor as a junior, mentoring eight first-year students. He says, “I really enjoyed interacting with the freshmen, as it reminded me of my early days at GW, and I also enjoyed attending the New Student Getaway for the second time—this time around in a coordinating and leadership capacity.” Additionally, Degaga enjoyed his time as part of the Ethiopian-Eritrean Students Association (EESA). Having joined the group as a first-year, he was named co-vice president during his junior year. “EESA has also been a second family for me,” Degaga explains. “I enjoyed showcasing Ethiopian culture through our many events, particularly by performing in the Eskista cultural dance team.” 

Following his graduation, Degaga plans to work in biomedical research and development , and he feels well-equipped to take this next step. “My involvement in SEAS, and particularly NSBE, has allowed me to connect with a number of industry professionals,” he notes. “Furthermore, working in an engineering research laboratory has helped me gain a lot of technical work experience.”