From Savannah to the Olympics


From Savannah to the Olympics

Dive into the deep end. 5,162 miles. That’s how far West African country Burkina Faso is from Savannah, Georgia. And that’s exactly how far Thierry Sawadogo ’20 flew to pursue not one, but two, seriously impressive dreams: Swim in the Olympics. And graduate from Savannah State with his bachelor’s degree in computer science technology.

So far, he’s accomplished the first. He placed second in his 50-meter freestyle heat at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For him, the chance to represent his country on an international stage overwhelmed him with an impossible-to-explain feeling.

In Burkina Faso, swimmers are in short supply. (As Thierry says, the typical sport of choice back home is soccer.) He wouldn’t let that stop him. He’s been training since he was eight years old – freestyling, backstroking, and butterflying his way to becoming Burkina Faso’s number-one swimmer.

“I was honored to represent Burkina Faso in the Olympics. I’m proud of everything I’ve been able to do while at Savannah State.” – Thierry Sawadogo ’20

As for his second dream? Thierry’s love for machines, technology, and computers burns just as bright as his love for the water. And as a computer science major, he gets to train his brain, too.

At Savannah State, computer science students are rocking the tech world: fighting cybercrime. Creating sign language translators. Developing more secure phone cameras. And searching for ways to strengthen avionics software. That’s only a slice of their research over the past few years. It’s all thanks to the one-on-one opportunities they get with professors on campus and across the country.

For Thierry, that deep pool of experience means he can go back to Burkina Faso one day to open a business building software and apps. But for right now, he’s keeping his head in the books – and underwater, gearing up for Tokyo 2020 with Savannah’s national swim team. Seriously Impressive

SSU computer science majors are working with organizations like AT&T, Best Buy, and the U.S. Air Force.

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