Words: Peter Biles ’20
Photos: Tony Hughes
Although he was born in Burkina Faso, Eli Ouoba’s life intersected with Wheaton early on. He lived on campus while his father studied for his Ph.D. at Wheaton College Graduate School. Having grown up in the United States, in both Wheaton and Michigan, Eli says he feels American but still proudly keeps his Burkinabe heritage. “I have had the opportunity to witness aspects of African culture that have broadened my worldview and perspective,” he explained.
Family is important to Eli, and it continues to play a central role in his life. His father is a “source of wisdom and guidance,” whom he has come to rely on even more now in college. “My family is very important to me; the older I get, the tighter I hold them close. My parents, in particular, have done a great deal for me and my siblings in ways that we could never repay,” he said.
Raised in a Christian family, Eli says that his faith started becoming his own when he was a teenager, and Wheaton has continued his spiritual growth. “Studying at Wheaton College has provided me with many unique opportunities to seek the Lord among a broad, diverse Christian community.”
Eli loves music, but technology also fascinates him. “Since middle school, I’ve developed a keen interest in technology,” he explained. “I learned various forms of basic programming in high school on my own, creating tools that would make my life easier and more efficient.”
Eli discovered his love for music at a young age. “I started playing worship drums when I was eight and picked up orchestral percussion in middle school.” Today, he explores the intersection of these two fields, studying both music and computer science.
“When I walk onto a stage to perform, I remember that God blesses us with gifts, not for our own good but the good of others, and my music-making points to him.” He also believes that in our ever-evolving technological environment, learning computer and programming skills is an important way to engage with the world and solve problems.
To learn more about music opportunities at Wheaton, visit wheaton.edu/conservatory.