“An Unusual Will to Learn”: Student Awarded at Education Conference

December 27, 2013

Lionel Shiwala recognized for immersion in learning and work

Lionel Shiwala, who is close to completing his Bachelor’s in Management at Northeastern University College of Professional Studies, was honored at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) New England 2013 Regional Conference in Ogunquit, ME, recently.   Shiwala was presented with the Continuing Education Student Award, which “honors a student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and an unusual will to learn—not only to enhance his/her own career—but also to add to the quality of life for him/herself, the family and community.”

Shiwala, who transferred to Northeastern from Bunker Hill Community College, has dealt with a lot of upheaval and change in recent years: he grew up in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then moved to Kansas City, where he initially began his undergraduate studies, then found himself moving to Boston at the request of his father and fiancée. When he landed at Northeastern, he excelled, embracing experiential learning and co-op. In the summer of 2013 he received the Student Scholar Award at the College’s Co-op Awards Ceremony; Shiwala completed two co-ops while at Northeastern: at Lufthansa Airlines, the largest airline carrier in Europe, and at Cisco Systems, a U.S. multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells networking equipment.

Shiwala then found himself nominated for the UPCEA award. His nomination package created by staff and faculty at the College was advanced by John LaBrie, dean of the College of Professional Studies.

“I was very humbled by his intention; it meant a lot to me,” said Shiwala. “When I came here [to Northeastern] I worked so hard, and my dream was to one day be recognized for all the efforts that I’ve made. I want to lead by example and inspire the next upcoming generation of students.”

“My goal later on in life,” he continued, “is to fund a scholarship for other students who might be motivated to go to school but don’t have the financial resources to do so. Now I have a story to tell them – hard work pays off. I came from a different country and being at Northeastern propelled me.”

And Shiwala’s recognition is not over yet. Since he won the Continuing Education Student Award at the UPCEA regional conference, he automatically advanced into the running to receive another award at the 2014 UPCEA national conference, which will take place in Miami in March 2014.


Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master’s degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern’s research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.