Are you smart enough to be a U.S. citizen? -
Published Friday, July 5, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:57 pm
Are you smart enough to be a U.S. citizen?

Each year, the United States welcomes about 680,000 new citizens through naturalization ceremonies.

“We are all familiar with the identification of America as a melting pot, and a land built on immigration. At my ceremony, there were 23 people and 21 different countries represented. What a fabulous blend of world countries coming to America,” said Stuart Chittenden, who became a U.S. citizen on April 16.

Each person in a naturalization ceremony has a story about choosing U.S. citizenship.

Chittenden, whose wife was born a U.S. citizen, said he lived and worked in this country and wanted “taxation with representation.”

Mona Al-mugotir was 10 when she and her family fled from their native country.

“Basically, my family participated against the former leader in an uprising in 1990 in Iraq,” she said.

Saddam Hussein's government hunted and executed the participants. Al-mugotir's family fled in the middle of the night.

She and her family spent the next five years in a Saudi Arabian refugee camp.

The family applied to the United Nations for permanent relocation. In a random lottery, it was sent to the United States.

“We were lucky in that sense,” she said.

Al-mugotir and Chittenden, like other applicants for U.S. citizenship, took an oral test on history, civics and geography.

The questions come from a master list of 100. An applicant must answer six of 10 correctly.

Here is a sampling of questions. See how well you would do if you had to earn U.S. citizenship.

Note: If the quiz isn't showing up in your browser, click here.

Sivakumar Shanmugam

Native country: India

Naturalized: 2010 at age 40

Test memories: naming a couple of U.S. holidays and a current senator from Nebraska

Why U.S. citizenship: He had been in the U.S. 15 years working in the technology field. He and his wife, Uma Sivakumar, had been in green card status five years. “At this point, both myself and my wife decided to take U.S. citizenship because our kids were U.S. citizens by birth” and we wanted to raise them here. “Also, we love traveling and a visa is not required with a U.S. passport for several countries.”

Employment: senior database administrator at Werner Enterprises

Dr. Kay-Uwe Wagner

Native country: Germany

Naturalized: 2005 at age 43

Test memories: what the stars and stripes stand for; “I do remember that I actually studied for it”

Why U.S. citizenship: “Essentially, I accepted a job at UNMC and I knew that I wanted to stay in the U.S.” Also, he and his wife, Ulrike, wanted to adopt children and knew it would be easier if they were citizens. The couple became naturalized citizens in the same ceremony.

Employment: professor at Eppley Institute for research in cancer and allied diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Borana Gjoka

Native country: Albania

Naturalized: 2010 at age 18

Test memories: what the stars and stripes on the flag signify

Why U.S. citizenship: Gjoka was a minor child when she moved to the U.S. with her parents and two brothers after her mother got a green card in the U.S. lottery drawing. “We moved here to live here. So to make things easier for us, we decided to be citizens.”

Employment: bookkeeper for Mercury Contractors; will be a junior in accounting in September at the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Stuart Chittenden

Native country: England

Naturalized: April 16, 2013, at age 44

Test memories: “The (study) booklet was both entertaining and informative.” When he asked friends who were born U.S. citizens to name the five freedoms, only 50 percent could, he said

Employment: brand consultant for David Day and Associates

John Goble

Native country: England

Naturalized: 1955 at age 20

Test memories: He does not remember a test and does not believe he was given one because he was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force

Why U.S. citizenship: His parents, both British citizens, were divorced and his mother lived in Baltimore. “I came over in 1951 on the Queen Mary by myself at age 16,” Goble said. He was an all-state soccer player for his Baltimore high school. He expected a college scholarship, but none came because he wasn't a U.S. citizen. A friend told him that military service was a fast track to citizenship. He joined the Air National Guard in Maryland and three months later went on active duty in the Air Force. His first sergeant arranged for and accompanied him to Cincinnati, where he was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. Goble lives in Bellevue.

Employment: retired but volunteers on the SAC Federal Credit Union board

Pawel Ciborowski

Native country: Poland

Naturalized: 1999 at age 46

Test memories: “The test was very easy to pass”

Why U.S. citizenship: Polish friends in Omaha pushed him to apply for the U.S. lottery for citizenship. He did and his name was drawn.

Employment: associate professor of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience director, Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Core Facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Contact the writer: Sue Story Truax    |   402-444-1165

Sue writes obituaries and covers community news and schools for's Living section, primarily Community Connection.

Read more related stories
Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita
What's going on this weekend?
Dining notes: Dario’s has a new spring menu
Archives: So many wonderful old Omaha photos
Annie, drop some bereavement knowledge on these yuppies
Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87
UNL students make dancing robot drones
Annie, this woman I paid for sex years ago is now a co-worker
Saying ‘stranger danger’ doesn’t always work, instead be direct with your child
Momaha: 10 ways to boost a kid's confidence
Tips, recipes on how to spice up your traditional Easter ham
Momaha: A lesson in balance for mom after ballet
Dubious list says Omaha's the second-most-spirited city in the U.S., whatever that means
Live Well Nebraska: Bellevue man named one of hottest fitness trainers in America
Annie, my husband walked out on me, and now I love his brother
Review: ‘Heaven is for Real’ leaves it to viewer to interpret its story
Aw, geez. 'Fargo' has a new psycho
Is this Omaha's most incredible Easter egg tree?
Omaha, Lincoln both set record lows; some fruit trees may have been damaged
Grand Island body shop owner models car after Coney dog
What to Watch: 'Fargo,' 'New Girl'
'Last Supper' quilt makes its way to Nebraska
Caravan’s steampunk ‘Fantasticks’ to pitch its tent in Iowa
Cleveland Evans: Emma blossomed from medieval roots
Annie, I'm worried my fiancée will go back to her group sex ways
< >
Cleveland Evans: From a moody nickname to the Ninja Turtles’ bestie
In honor of April 1, this column’s about Murgatroyd and Amphelisia.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
Jump to a blog:
< >
We Love Weddings blog
W.E. Love Weddings is about everything Omaha and everything weddings by the editors of Wedding Essentials Magazine.
Weddings and engagements
Share your exciting news with your community by placing an announcement today.
Inspired Home Omaha magazine
Sign up today to get the latest edition of Omaha's best magazine for local living, home entertainment, fashion and travel!
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »