Adwoa Ofori-Gyau is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Global Gender Policy and a regional focus on Africa. She received a Bachelor of Science in International Business with a minor in Spanish from Catawba College in 2021. Particularly she is interested in gender advocacy, gender empowerment and policymaking surrounding minority groups in Africa. She has volunteered at Covered Girls Inc in Charlotte, NC and has great experience with nonprofit organizations and social impact campaigns during her time at Youngsters Development Hub and Reach Marketing both in Ghana. She is currently interning with Washington English Center in Washington, DC. Adwoa enjoys listening to podcasts, reading African literature, traveling, and meeting people from different cultures.
When did you realize you wanted an international career? What led you to choose the Elliott School?
As a young girl growing up in Ghana, I noticed and experienced different disparities in the system. That is really what sparked my interest in having a career where I can represent Ghana and Africa internationally in hopes of affecting change. However, I was not sure how I was going to get there, the specific program of study that I would enjoy and would also set me up for a successful international career. After my undergraduate studies in International Business and pursuing a minor in Spanish, I was certain I wanted to pursue a master’s degree and delve deeper into the international space. I looked up schools that had strong international programs and the Elliott School emerged at the top of my list. Thankfully I gained admission and here I am! Talk about a dream come true!
Where do you currently intern or volunteer, and how does it fit in with your career goals?
I am currently interning with Washington English Center in Washington, DC. I volunteer with Excelling Abroad, an online community that specializes in helping international students transition smoothly from their home countries to the United States. I also volunteer virtually with the Youngsters Development Hub in Ghana. This nonprofit focuses on providing educational resources, mentorship, and guidance to students in public schools across the country. My ultimate career goal is to work with the United Nations. However, 5 years from now, I would like to have risen through the ranks at Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration or have secured a job as an advocacy and policy manager in a select African country.
What has been your most rewarding academic experience at the Elliott School and why?
This is a bit of a tough question. Honestly, all my academic experiences so far at the Elliott School have been very fulfilling and extremely helpful. I have had very important guest speakers in international careers, ranging from peace building, gender activists, and many more. If I had to pick one most rewarding academic experience, it will be an opportunity I got through my International Relations in Africa class. I was invited to join a virtual discussion and listening session with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, in preparation of President Biden’s U.S. Africa Leaders Summit. As a Ghanaian pursuing education in the U.S., I felt very honored and was excited to have an input in a topic that directly affects my home continent.
Describe the pros and cons of being a full-time or part-time student at the Elliott School.
As a full-time student, I find that I have more time dedicated to my classes, readings, course papers, and research work. I am also able to take advantage of networking opportunities, get involved on campus, and connect with professors and course mates outside of class. However, being a full-time student takes away from social time. This is where being intentional with all aspects of your life comes in. Knowing that all facets of your life need and deserve attention and that a good balance will translate into a great wellbeing is extremely helpful. I would assume that as a part-time student, there is a break from constant school and an escape at work to focus on other tasks which could be a great thing!
What advice do you have for incoming students who are starting to think about internship and work opportunities?
I will advise them to get involved on campus and most importantly, connect with their professors, take advantage of office hours, and get to know them beyond the classroom and classes. This will make you memorable and they can easily recommend you for various opportunities- ranging from work, on campus leadership positions, internships and many more. Also, check out the Graduate Student Services weekly newsletters – there are a lot of hidden gems in there!
If you could donate unlimited funds to any cause, what would it be and why?
Definitely to the healthcare sector in Africa! Quality and affordable healthcare is something that the continent generally lacks although there very talented health professionals across the continent. I have read and witnessed one too many people who went to the hospital for basic healthcare needs and did not make it back home alive.
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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at email@example.com.
The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.