August 31, 2020
When Susan DaCosta completed her undergraduate program at Ashesi this year, she accomplished what had barely been a dream years ago. The last of her parent’s six children, from a remote town in the Gambia, financial constraints had made college seem unlikely. However, having been a standout student, Susan was encouraged by her counselors and parents to consider applying to universities nonetheless, with hopes that she could receive a generous scholarship offer. They were right.
After receiving only partial scholarships from almost all the ten schools she applied to, she was ready to give up until Ashesi called.
“In my mind, this was my biggest achievement at the time,” says Susan. “The call from Ashesi left me shaken, and I suddenly felt a responsibility to make my family and community proud, to show other students from my town that there were many more possibilities beyond what we could immediately see.”
Four years after becoming a MasterCard Foundation scholar at Ashesi, Susan has become the first in her family to graduate from college. She has pushed the boundaries as part of the pioneer class of the Ashesi University — Arizona State University Accelerated Masters program. She is now on a path to earning a Masters in Engineering and has also qualified for a post-graduate role in Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University.
“Over the last four years, I’ve grown in more ways than I could have imagined,” shares Susan. “From taking a huge leap to Ashesi in Ghana, to now working towards my Masters at Arizona, I’m happy I’ve become an example to not just my family and friends but also the many other students I may have inspired. Everyone needs support. Beyond the scholarship from Ashesi, I had my biggest cheerleaders, my parents, always encouraging me. Ashesi’s Diversity and International Programmes Office were also resources I couldn’t have done without. Now, it’s time to pay it forward.”
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