Today’s STEM WOW is second-year Fellow of Teach For Ghana (TFG), Emily Emefa Fiankor.
Emily earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the State University of New York College at Cortland and a Master of Arts in International Development from Eastern University, Pennsylvania.
She is passionate about community development and values making a positive difference in the lives of others.
In her interview with Nsesa Foundation, Emily spoke of the love-hate relationship she had with STEM.
“Growing up, I had a strong interest in the medical field, so it made sense to pursue biological sciences in the University. After taking courses in Organic Chemistry and Genetics, I questioned my interests in medicine.
“Moreover, I took a class about the sociocultural study of HIV/AIDS, where my interest in community development heightened. I discovered that I wanted to make an impact in society by pursuing international development and not medicine. As a result, I cut ties with studying medicine.
“Little did I know that in my quest for community development, I would reunite with STEM through teaching integrated science to junior high school students in a rural area, which has been a rewarding experience.”
Emily is a second-year Fellow of Teach For Ghana (TFG); a non-profit organization that provides a two-year leadership development program focused on building solution-driven leaders who are expanding educational opportunities to all children in Ghana.
As part of the fellowship program, she teaches Integrated Science at Afatsagbleve D/A Basic School, Akatsi South, in the Volta Region of Ghana.
Speaking of her greatest achievements, Emily said, “Organizing an adolescent sexual and reproductive health workshop for a hundred students (upper primary through JHS) in my school to provide pupils with increased knowledge on sexual and reproductive health that is vital to make informed decisions about their lives as well as to promote healthy sexual behaviors of students.
“Being the Project Manager for the Afatsagbleve Basic School canteen construction, an ongoing project that I initiated and raised money (6000 Ghana Cedis) to contribute towards building a sustainable canteen for the school,” she added.
Emily also addressed the challenges she had faced as a woman in STEM, noting the limited resources she had to work with when teaching.
She said, “I have had to develop innovative ways to teach because there is inadequate science apparatus and no science laboratory. With the aid of the internet, YouTube, and local materials such as plastic bottles, I have been able to deliver creative lessons to assist with student learning.”
Advising women in STEM, Emily had this to say:
“Do not compare yourself to others- you are unique. Stay focused on your journey and never hesitate to seek help when you need it.
” Self-care is important- make sure you take good care of yourself as the field can be very stressful. Find something you enjoy doing and include it in your daily schedule.”
STEM WOW is a project by Nsesa Foundation to tell the stories of young inspirational African women on the continent and in the diaspora who are rocking it in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).