GYA Co-Chair Priscilla Kolibea Mante, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
I was Born in Accra, Ghana, to parents who were both teachers. Nonetheless, I hated going to school.
My maternal grandmother always had to bribe me with freshly baked bread. I would eat the bread heartily and still refuse to go to school. This was 5-year-old me. I enjoyed sports, climbing trees, drawing and painting, but never school.
Things finally clicked into place when I was moved to a new school in the city. It felt like I had finally found my place, my tribe; other students who made being in school exciting, teachers who made your time in school worthwhile. This gladdened my mother’s heart. She did not have the chance to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer, so she was determined to have her daughters follow theirs. She was my greatest cheerleader, following my progress carefully.
I did not always know I would be a scientist. But very early in life, I was taught I could be anything I wanted to be. And I held on to that. I remember wanting to be a plastic surgeon and then wanting to be the President of the World Bank. Ultimately, my path led to science in high school, and I have followed it until this day. After my first university degree, I met my first mentor who was a neuroscientist. He had very noble dreams of developing cures for many medical conditions affecting the brain. I thought these dreams were important, so I signed up. I opted to do my PhD in Neuropharmacology. I chose to focus on epilepsy because I believed my skills would be useful towards helping discover a cure for people who had to live with epilepsy. I still believe I can bring them some hope.
I am now a neuropharmacologist, teaching and doing exciting research at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. And all I pray for is that my path will inspire other girls to believe in their own abilities.
To that little girl who is me, I say value your uniqueness and be kind to yourself. Be confident in who you are, never doubt and never stop dreaming.
That which is meant for you will find you!