Degree: BS Criminology & Justice Studies ’18
Concentration: Criminology and Justice Policy
Minor: Political Science
Co-op: Brain Injury Therapist Intern, MossRehab Drucker Brain Injury Center
Extracurricular activities: Peer tutor, Drexel Writing Center; Volunteer, Girl Scouts Beyond Bars; Vice President, Drexel Biddle Law Society; Director of Pursuits, Delta Gamma Sorority
Awards: A.J Drexel Academic Scholarship; Papadakis International Scholarship; 2016 Service Year + Higher Education Innovation Challenge Award, Lumina Foundation; G.E College Bowl Award; Dr. Jacquelyn West-Ford Award for Civility, Humanitarianism and Social Justice; Dean’s List; Honorable William J. Hall Jr. Award, Drexel University
What led you to choose your major? Was there a specific course, faculty member or experience that convinced you of your decision?
I started out at Drexel as a double major in biology and criminology, hoping to go into medicine after graduation. My first class, a basic criminal justice one with the late Dr. Julia Hall, had me questioning my purpose and changing my mind. I realized that there was more than one way I could influence the world and help change it, and the right path for me would be through the criminal justice system. Taking CJS classes such as the inside-out Prison, Society and You course in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility further solidified the decision, as I realized how much I wanted to improve the rehabilitation and correctional practices of the criminal justice systems in the country and the world at large.
What is one thing a faculty member has told you – or a particular course/lesson – that has stuck with you?
Through the course of my Drexel experience, Dr. Ashley Dickinson has been a constant force, encouraging me just by her amazing existence. However, the one thing that has stuck with me is a prose poem she sent me on graduation day, called “Desiderata.” As a self-proclaimed overachiever, it is sometimes a bit hard for me to just be still and watch the universe unfold, but these words always remind me that I am excellent — simply because I am, and even if I never did one more excellent thing, I would still be excellent. Most importantly, it reminds me to strive for peace above all, and always remember that regardless of how difficult life might get in the post-graduate world, and how many things may not go my way, it is still a beautiful world.
Coolest experience you’ve had through your major?
The coolest experience through my major would be volunteering with the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, a special chapter of the Girl Scouts with scouts who all had one parent incarcerated. I got to accompany the girls on visits to the correctional facilities to see their mothers, as well as serve as a college ambassador for them and host events on Drexel’s campus to inspire their educational aspirations.
What motivates you?
Knowing the amount of help needed in the world, and knowing that there are so many things I can do to help make the world a better place, motivates me. My family and the people I have come to form close relationships with, whom I call my “friamily,” also serve as motivation — I’m Ghanaian, and I cannot disappoint them.
What were some of your most memorable travel experiences through Drexel?
I was lucky to be able to travel to Norway and Sweden through the CJS department’s study abroad program ‘Crime in Scandinavia,’ and it is my most memorable so far. Not only did I get to see criminal justice through a varying, more humane lens, but I also discovered my future career through that experience, and I could not be more grateful. It was also cool to see Scandinavia with a really amazing professor and just enjoy being in another country.
What has made your experience at Drexel special or unique?
The criminology and justice studies department! I cannot stress it enough — everyone in the department was the most awesome person and contributed so much to my growth.
Why would you recommend your degree program at Drexel?
My degree program and department had the most wonderful faculty and staff. Our advisor, Mica Storer, was so helpful and amazing, and my professors have set the bar so high that I wonder if any other school’s professors will measure up. I personally thrive in an environment where I am encouraged to be the best version of myself, and that's exactly what my professors did. They weren’t simply trying to achieve any agenda or force me into being anything I was not, but were genuinely interested in my success. They made sure to expose me to every opportunity possible that would ensure I became the best person I could be, academic and otherwise. The people in the CJS department became my family, and any student who pursues this degree program will have that support as well. I could not recommend a better program.
What advice do you have for a high school student looking for an undergraduate program?
Follow your passion but also be open-minded and your path will definitely find you.
What are your goals for after graduation? What do you hope to do with your Drexel degree?
I will be starting at the University of Maryland’s School of Law in the fall of 2019. I hope to ultimately add my law degree to my Drexel degree in my path to reform criminal justice systems across the world.