Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Angel. I’m a cognitive-behavioral neuroscience major. I’m a junior this year. My pronouns are she/her/hers. My family is originally from Ghana but I live about an hour and a half away in Columbus.
I’m sure it’s belated at this point, but congratulations on winning a Voyager Scholarship from the Obama Foundation! Could you tell the readers a bit about that process?
Thank you! Yeah, actually a friend of mine recommended it to me, and I really was not going to apply. It was a lengthy application, and it was right before spring break, so I had midterms and stuff like that and I put it in the back of my mind and completely forgot about it. I went home and over spring break I really didn’t have anything to do. I thought, “you know what? I have nothing better to do, so why not just try?”
What does being a recipient of the scholarship mean?
For one — and I think that’s the biggest thing with any scholarship — is financial relief. So it really is helping a lot. [Being a recipient of the scholarship] also entails a lot. Basically, a brief overview is you get money to do some really cool work in public service that interests you, so for me that’s in substance abuse and addiction. I get additional funds to design a program to do what’s called a “Summer Voyage” that can take any form I want it to. It’s a lot of work. When I first got the scholarship we had weekly meetings with our cohort, and we have coaches and advisors that we have to run things by.
Are you able to tell us about the plans for your Voyage?
Not everything is solidified yet but, like I said, my public service issue area is mental health and substance abuse. As I mentioned, I’m from Ghana, and in Ghana substance abuse is becoming an epidemic among youth populations and that really scares me. Basically, I’m designing an educational program for youth in Ghana. I’m working with researchers here and hospitals in Ghana to get endorsements to design an educational syllabus — a really brief package of information about how substances, mainly alcohol, affect your brain or neurological development, and how that influences both behavioral and social and physical aspects of life. My hope is to work on that and get it into schools in Ghana this summer. For me, it’s not a one and done thing, so hopefully I can continue to work on it throughout the rest of my college career and even after. It’s a lot of work, but it is really great. I do recognize that I am very blessed to have this opportunity.
What are you involved with at Wooster?
A lot actually. This year I’m a RA in Luce on the first floor in the French Suite. I’m the co-president of the African Students Union here as well. I’m a health coach at the Wooster Community Hospital, too. Other than that, I really am just everywhere. I help Multicultural Student Affairs with stuff throughout the semester, if they need student support. I’m a Peer Mentor too, so I help with first years in their FYS, providing additional support in getting acquainted with campus. And at the beginning of the semester I’m a WooCrew leader, so I help with orientation too.
What do you like to do in your free time (if you have any)?
That’s a really good question. That’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about this year. I mean, I really love to listen to music, but I also listen to music regardless of what I’m doing, even when I’m not free. I love to read. I started getting into memoirs and biographies a bit more, so currently I am reading “When Breath Becomes Air” [by Paul Kalanithi]. It’s about this neurosurgeon who got a brain tumor and couldn’t perform surgery anymore. I love to spend time with my friends when I can. They probably shouldn’t read this because they’ll probably say it’s a lie, but it’s true.
The most important question of them all: If you were a food, what kind of food would you be?
I would say my favorite food: it’s rice balls and peanut butter soup. It’s just delicious. You get your carbs, you get your protein, you get your fat. People like to put veggies in there too, so you get a good mix of everything, and I can eat it any day.
What advice do you have for other students who are looking to make change at Wooster and beyond?
If I had to say something, I would say just do it, because you never know who’s watching. I’m just trying to do what I can to build a life for myself. But you really never know who’s watching. You never know who you’re impacting. You never know who you’re inspiring. So if you have an idea, just do it. And the most important thing: two heads are better than one, so collaborate. There’s help everywhere, but you can’t get help if you don’t ask for it, or if you don’t recognize that you need it. So, be vulnerable. Be honest with yourself. It’s okay to ask for help.
Anything else you’d like people to know about you?
If you see me on campus, you can stop me and say hi. We can have a conversation about really anything. Even about the scholarship. Applications open soon, so if you’re interested and you’re a rising junior or senior, you can definitely stop me and ask me some questions and I would be happy to talk.