Kwadwo Sarpong graduated from Emory University in Atlanta in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology. He is currently in a post-baccalaureate program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and plans to go to medical school.
While still at Emory, Sarpong established the African Research Academies for Women. Since 2014, the organization has provided research opportunities for 29 women in Ghana. Another 11 will participate in the program in Ghana this year. And for the first time this year, 10 women will be conducting research in a laboratory in Nigeria.
Sarpong came to the United States in 2009 and worked for two years as a custodian in a hospital and as a cashier at Wal-Mart to earn money for college. He enrolled first at Georgia Perimeter College and transferred to Emory University as a junior. He was inspired to create the African Research Academies for Women due to the experience of his mother who wanted to be a nurse but never received education past middle school. “If I have the privilege of being in the United States as a male, I can use my position here to help women like my mom in Ghana who want to understand and pursue the sciences,” Sarpong said.
The nonprofit organization has received funding from the Clinton Global Initiative. For his efforts, Sarpong received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, the national highest honor in volunteer service.