Growing up, Adwoa Yeboah Owusu believed her path to success relied heavily on a single factor: education.
That sentiment still rings true for the Brock Geography master’s student, whose hard work has brought her to Canada from her native Ghana in pursuit of her graduate degree.
“I saw education as means out of poverty and an opportunity to make the world a better place,” Owusu says, reflecting on the emphasis her family placed on higher learning throughout her childhood. “Even though I’m not from a rich background, my father was always keen on education because he believed that it would get his kids to that next level.”
Her hard work and dedication to learning recently saw Owusu selected as one of this year’s 20 Horizon Graduate Student Scholarship recipients.
Launched in the 2020-21 academic year, the annual Brock award supports high-achieving graduate students from research-based programs who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Colour or from other under-represented groups. Recipients receive a one-time award of $5,000.
The Horizon Scholarship fund, which is set to provide $1 million to incoming students over 10 years, is intended to help Brock attract top researchers and students from various fields while building a diverse and inclusive university community.
Owusu’s passion, discovered while completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Ghana, lies in human geography, particularly the inequalities that exist between nations.
Through her research at Brock, she plans to examine infant mortality rates in Ghana in hopes of providing effective solutions to help address the issue by informing policy and programs in the African nation.
“Infant mortality rates are important to the development of every country and are also a link to the general health and well-being of people,” she says. “We want to decolonize contributing factors so we can understand those rates and the causes of infant mortality in the Ghanaian context, leading to better solutions.”
Beyond her Brock studies, Owusu hopes to one day become a professor, inspiring Ghanaian youth to dream big and set goals education can help them to achieve.
Though August marked Owusu’s first time in Canada, she has found comfort far from home.
She’s connected with fellow Ghanaian students among other peers on campus and felt the support of the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.
But what has perhaps brought her the most strength was taking this journey with her eldest sister — a Critical Sociology master’s student with the same first and last name who is also among this year’s Horizon recipients — by her side.
Owusu expressed gratitude for the Horizon Scholarship, which played a significant role in ensuring both she and her sister could pursue their graduate studies in Canada.
“We know there are many people who applied that are equally deserving, so we’re very grateful,” she says of the Horizon scholarship. “It goes a long way in helping people, some who are less fortunate, to secure higher education. We thank Brock for contributing to our success story.”
The graduate student researchers selected for the 2023-24 award come from a variety of backgrounds, but all share a similar passion for their respective areas of work.
“With all they have accomplished and all they aspire to achieve, this year’s Horizon Scholarship recipients are a true inspiration to the entire Brock community,” says Suzanne Curtin, Vice-Provost and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. “Bringing fresh perspectives and unique life experiences to the table, they’re working towards dynamic and thought-provoking research that has the potential to change the world.”
Among this year’s Horizon Scholarship recipients are:
- Sheraz Ahmad, a Mathematics and Statistics master’s student
- Rabia Choudhary, a Social Justice and Equity Studies master’s student
- Belinda Dentu, a Political Science master’s student
- Lamis El-Sabaa, a Psychology master’s student
- Yi Han, a Management master’s student
- Genevieve (Evie) Jones, an Interdisciplinary Humanities PhD student
- Mandisa Lau, an Applied Health Sciences master’s student
- Evelin Melekh, an Applied Health Sciences master’s student
- Melody Minhorst, a Child and Youth Studies PhD student
- Joseph Muthoni, a Biological Sciences PhD student
- Youssef Nassar, an Applied Health Sciences master’s student
- Adwoa Owusu, a Critical Sociology master’s student
- Adwoa Yeboah Owusu, a Geography master’s student
- Oya Pakkal, a Psychology PhD student
- Nisthaben Patel, a Chemistry master’s student
- Shamae Quinquito, an Applied Health Sciences master’s student
- Katrynne Rice, a History master’s student
- Marcus Villena, a Biological Sciences master’s student