Education

ASA graduates poised to impact the world with STEM

The seventh graduation ceremony, organised for African Science Academy students, honoured young women who possess STEM-related knowledge and abilities

African Science Academy (ASA) has held its seventh graduation ceremony, honouring young women equipped with the skills and knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to drive innovation and development across Africa and beyond.

The ceremony showcased the resilience and dedication of these young women hailing from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, Zambia and other African countries who, in the last ten months, with resilience and determination, have completed the globally recognised Cambridge International A-Levels in mathematics, further mathematics, and physics, all on full scholarships.

The students also studied robotics and computer programming. During their speeches, the graduates articulated their readiness to apply their newly acquired skills and pledged to be good ambassadors of ASA.

In 2016, the chair of the African Gifted Foundation, Tom Ilube, founded ASA, an all-girls STEM-focused academy for gifted African girls from low-income backgrounds.

The founder of ASA, Tom Ilube, in his welcome address, emphasised the global impact of investing in African youth, expressing confidence in the graduates’ capacity to drive change. 

He said: “Do you know that it has been predicted that by 2050, Africa’s population will be 2.5 billion people, it will be a quarter of the world’s entire population. So whatever happens in Africa, impacts the entire world. If you have an impact here, it impacts the whole world.”

Tom also emphasised that graduates of the African Science Academy will be creators of global technological trends and not predictors.

In her opening remarks to the graduation of the Class of 2024, the Headteacher of ASA, Gifty Ghansah, praised the graduates for their tenacity and highlighted the comprehensive skill set they developed over the 10-month journey. She urged them to challenge the status quo and strive for excellence, asserting, “You have the power to make a significant impact.”

“The journey through this program has not just equipped you with technical knowledge and skills, but it has also forced resilience, creativity, and a problem-solving mindset. These attributes are not only the foundation of your future careers but also crucial in addressing the global challenges we face today,” she noted.

Touching on the uniqueness of the 2024 cohort, Ghansah highlighted perseverance, eagerness to learn and excel, and the can-do spirit, adding that the collective support among themselves “will remain a very beautiful memory with me.”

The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson, highlighted her admiration for ASA’s students, noting their abilities as sources of optimism and hope for the future.

“Every time I come here (ASA), I am inspired by you students. You are doing amazing things. I always leave ASA feeling optimistic. No matter what challenges have been on my mind through my day job or when I watch the news, I always leave ASA thinking it is okay. The world is in good hands because of ASA,” she remarked.

In his remarks, the regional director (Middle East and Africa) at Apple Inc., David Chisholm, shared insights from his career, urging the graduates to find joy in their work, build positive relationships, and maintain a balanced life.

Additionally, he praised their sincerity and urgency in contributing to their community while reminding them of the significant responsibilities laid on them by their families, community and the girls who will follow them through ASA.

Among the other dignitaries who graced the ceremony with their presence were the trustees of the African Gifted Foundation (AGF), the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT), representatives from UN and UNFPA, Technip FMC, the University of Warwick, Aya Data, alumnae of ASA, and parents, among others.

Head and Deputy School Prefects, Emmaculate Wey Amu Adiba and Bernice Blanney Tetteh, expressed gratitude to Dr. IIube for the opportunity given them, as well as Ms. Ghansah and the ASA staff for their unwavering support. 

“We are who we are today because of our founder, Tom Ilube, who made it possible for this prestigious institution and hence these butterflies of change to come into existence. We owe our growth and membership as a part of this community to our dear headteacher, Gifty Ghansah.

“We also thank every member of staff for all their advice,” she said. Highlighting the challenges, the prefects mentioned adapting to the new curriculum at ASA as one of them, which they eventually overcame with the support of their able teachers and fellow sisters.

As part of the ceremony, students received several awards from Precious Agyei from Ghana, including Best Student in A-Level Further Maths and Overall Best Student in Academics.

Categories Awardee
1 Best Student in A-level Maths Belise Hirwa Umurerwa
2 Best Student in A-level Further Maths Precious Agyei
3 Best Student in A-level Physics Nicole Mutesi  & Mirabel Ukazu
4 Overall Best Student in Academics Precious Agyei
5 Outstanding Development Award Mary Amissah
6 All round Student Award Belise Hirwa Umurerwa
Non –Academic Awards
7 Most disciplined student Bernice Blanney Tetteh
8 ASA Resilience Award Sylvia Akanpawine & Mavis Marfo
9 ASA Ambassador Bernice Blanney Tetteh
10 Exceptional Dedication award Belise Hirwa Umurerwa & Mariama Ayaaba Alhassan
11 ASA Excellence Award Emmaculate Wey Amu Adiba
12 ASA Award for Integrity Bernice Blanney Tetteh
13 ASA Ambition award Jane Seyram Ocloo
14 ASA Caring Community Award Belise Hirwa Umurerwa
15 ASA Empowerment Award Precious Agyei
16 ASA Innovation Award Nuna  Aseye  Afi  Nyamekor,  Mirabel  Ukazu  &
Zakia Mahamudu Sisse
17 ASA Creativity Award Neolla Theodette Uwabeza & June Njiru
18 ASA Diversity Award Chinelo Adaugo Nnamdi-Kanu

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