Meet Women Engineering Scholars of Ashesi

Nurudeen-Salley-Kawusara - AshasiIn 2015, Ashesi launched a new engineering program, offering degrees in Computer, Mechanical, and Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Gender parity is a key goal of the program, to ensure that the perspectives of African women guide the engineering solutions to some of Africa’s greatest challenges. We are proud that women represent 41% of our second engineering cohort.

This first step towards gender parity is the result of an institution-wide commitment to empowering women in leadership, the hard work of the admissions team, and generous scholarship support from donors. Below, we highlight four women who received scholarships to study engineering at Ashesi.

Nurudeen Salley Kawusara ’19

Nurudeen is an Ashesi sophomore who lives with her parents in Kotobabi, a small township in Accra. An engineering student, she aspires to someday establish a center in Ghana that tackles local sanitation challenges.

Nurudeen’s bright future as an engineer, however, was not always a given. In her youth, she says that she was far from an academically-minded student. “I feel thankful because I’ve come so far in the learning process. During my primary days through Junior High School, I never felt the need to learn. You would never find me sitting behind a desk reading or writing outside of class. It took great people to change my attitude towards learning. Ever since, I have progressed significantly in my work,” explains Nurudeen.

In high school, Nurudeen shined academically thanks to dedicated teachers and her strong work ethic. Now, she can proudly share that she excels in mathematics, historically her most challenging subject. Near the end of high school, Nurudeen learned about Ashesi through one of her teachers.

“I heard about Ashesi University through one of my favorite teachers, Mr. William Kyei. He told us why Ashesi is a good place to be – not only because of its good teachers and facilities, but also because it is against unethical deeds – a characteristic that is very rare in Ghana’s public universities. I am here at Ashesi, and I’m happy and there’s no better place I can imagine myself. The environment is almost perfect – the courses, the teachers, the resource centers, the clubs, the endless opportunities, it goes on and on.”

“The scholarship means everything to me. I imagine what I would have been missing on this campus without it… I’m here and I’m ready to take advantage of all the experiences I am offered.”

“I’ve learned a lot in class already, made new friends, joined many clubs and I’m ready to take on some of the major responsibilities in these clubs. One of the most amazing things here in Ashesi I’m really impressed about is the water filtering system, the liquid and solid waste systems. Also, the fact that there is an online platform for teachers and students to communicate at any time is excellent. At Ashesi, you not only learn but are trained to be ethical, to be a thinker and leader, and are provided with skills to prepare you for the real world.”

Nurudeen has always wanted to be a part of a team that solves sanitation, waste management, and power shortage problems in Ghana. At Ashesi, one of her courses focuses on sanitation – considering sanitation problems from different perspectives and the factors that bring about these problems. Ultimately, Nurudeen aspires to establish a center that tackles Ghana’s sanitation challenges.

“I want to be a part of the development process in my country because I want to see it transform from where it is now to a place people never imagined and I want Ghanaians to be proud to be a part of the country.”

Gloria Ataa Sekyere ’19

Gloria grew up in Kumasi, Ghana, the youngest of six children. At age 12, Gloria’s father passed away, which created many challenges for her family. “It wasn’t easy for any of us. We just had to do our best in school with the hope that one day we would see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Gloria focused her energy on academics, attending the prestigious Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast, Ghana. “Engaging in extracurricular activities like sports instilled in me a spirit of teamwork and cooperation which I believe are essential in every endeavor,” shares Gloria. In her last year of high school, Gloria passed her final exams through the support and counseling of her teachers, family and friends. “It wasn’t easy but with determination and perseverance, and the Lord by my side, I pulled through.”

When it came time to consider university, Gloria knew exactly what she wanted. She had dreamt to be a computer engineer since she was 6 years old, when she had tried to repair a broken computer at home. Early on, she was discouraged from pursuing engineering, simply for being a woman. “I was very downhearted at first, but it motivated me to make a difference; to prove that women can be great engineers.”

During high school, Gloria attended Ashesi’s Innovation Experience (AIX), a summer program centered on engineering and design thinking. It was at AIX that Gloria realized Ashesi was the best place for her to make her dreams come true. “At AIX I got to know about Ashesi’s wonderful scholarship opportunities. I applied right after I graduated from high school. I was so nervous because I didn’t see myself going anywhere else apart from Ashesi. If I hadn’t been accepted, I would have spent the next year taking computer courses and working, and then would have applied to Ashesi again.”

“On the night I received my admission letter I felt like my life was just about to begin. I felt even better when I realized I had received a scholarship. It meant a big deal, the beginning of greatness and excellence.”

So far, Ashesi has exceeded all Gloria’s expectations. A serene community of excellence, integrity and holistic education. She believes that Ashesi has already started to impact her life and is motivated to develop her talents to their full potential. In the future, Gloria hopes to encourage more women to go into engineering, and support Ghana’s development. “I see my future self as a well-established computer engineer, who will be making a great impact in her society and making Africa a better place.”

Fauziya Ahmed Mudasir ’19

Born in Nima, a neighborhood of Accra, Ghana, Fauziya is the third child of six. Fauziya grew up facing cruel stereotypes about people from her neighborhood. In school, teachers and students often treated her differently – Nima Girl was a common nickname. “I used to be angry whenever people treated me differently. I didn’t understand why being born in Nima equated me with negative stereotypes. I realized it was up to me to change their opinion; to judge me for who I am and not where I come from. I learned from that point onward that it is up to you to determine how others see you.”

In high school, Fauziya saw that most of her female friends were betrothed to be married after graduation. She realized that many had done so in order to secure a husband who would pay for their college education. Fauziya refused to finance her college education this way.

“I did not want to get married for the sole purpose of finding a means to pay for my education. I wanted to show young girls they do not need to get married to have an easy life; they could become accomplished through their own efforts. Putting my future in the hands of a person who could change his mind at any point in time was not a risk I was willing to take.”

After high school, Fauziya learned about Ashesi from a teacher and an Ashesi alum. A few friends tried to discourage her from applying, claiming that Ashesi was too competitive and financially out of reach. Fauziya dismissed this chatter, applied to Ashesi, and ultimately received a scholarship to pursue her dream. Today, she hopes to be an inspiration to young girls who consider marriage their only option to securing a better life.

“I hope my four year stay in Ashesi is life changing and opens many doors of opportunities for a bright future.”

Asantewaa Bremang ’19

Asantewaa was raised in Accra, Ghana along with two sisters and parents, who have always supported her pursuit of education. Asantewaa attended Archbishop Porter Girls’ School in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. Waking up at dawn each day helped her learn effective time management and self-discipline. Her academic prowess, combined with the support of dedicated teachers and good friends, helped her pass her final high school exams.

Through her high school robotics team, Asantewaa learned about Ashesi’s Innovation Experience (AIX), a summer program centered on engineering and design thinking. Her experience at AIX inspired her to apply to Ashesi. Not only was Asantewaa accepted, but she received a scholarship. Today, Asantewaa is making the most of her time at Ashesi – participating in several clubs, making new friends, and spending leisure time learning about technology.

Asantewaa has a passion to help Africa, especially her native Ghana. After graduation, she plans to utilize her electrical engineering degree to promote Ghana’s development.

Source: Ashesi

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