Anis Kallel: ‘I want to make a difference’
Anis Kallel came to Rochester by chance. One day in 2013, he and high school friends in his native Tunisia took an online survey that promised to match them with a suitable college in the United States. Kallel answered questions about areas of study and activities he was interested in.
“Rochester came back as a 100 percent match,” he says.
Kallel was grateful to receive the University’s Renaissance & Global Scholarship, a full-tuition, four-year scholarship offered annually to about 20 students who are academic all-stars and have unique backgrounds that add to the diversity of the student body.
“I was given something most people wouldn’t dream of receiving,” the computer science and business dual major says. “That comes with some responsibility. Whatever potential Rochester saw in me, I wanted to live up to it.”
Kallel has enjoyed his college experience from all angles.
He served as president of the Computer Science Undergraduate Council and a teaching assistant and peer advisor in the department. He was a research assistant in the Human-Computer Interaction lab, where he helped develop RocSpeak, a software program that helps people improve their public speaking skills.
He worked at the UR Tech Store and was a member of Rochester’s club volleyball team. He landed internships at the video game company Electronic Arts and at Microsoft. He studied abroad in Spain, where he added Spanish as his fourth language, and was a member of Roc HACK, a club for hackers, engineers, and builders.
Kallel will remain part of the University community next year as a Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year student. The KEY program allows selected students the chance to devote one or two tuition-free semesters to the study and practice of entrepreneurship.
“I didn’t want to jump into the Silicon Valley industry right away,” Kallel says. “I wanted to do research on emerging markets in Africa.”
He’ll work as a co-op student for Seedstars World, a Swiss start-up company that runs global start-up competitions covering more than 65 emerging and developing markets. Kallel is scheduled to visit 24 cities in 20 countries from May to December before returning to Rochester.
“Then, I’ll compile my experience and put it all into perspective,” he says. “I’ll see what worked in other countries. I want to make a difference—in Tunisia and everywhere.”
—Jim Mandelaro, May 2017