Three graduates of Ashesi University’s Class of 2020, Gumiso Chisi, Zoe Tagboto and Major Kadonzvo, have been honoured with the Scholarship, Leadership and Citizenship Award.
This is the highest award a student can receive at Ashesi.
The award is given on an annual basis to three graduating students who have lived out Ashesi’s core values during their time at the university, contributed in outstanding ways to Ashesi’s mission and strong impact on the Ashesi Community. The award is presented by Patrick Awuah, the President of the University.
Below are the profiles of the three recipients of the award:
Gumiso Chisi, from Zimbabwe, graduated Summa Cum Laude (GPA of 3.85+ out of 4.00). She did not just graduate top 5% of her class, in fact, she was also very influential on campus and involved with many activities. She had a record of service on campus bar none: Ashesi’s library, Admissions, Career Services, Foundation of Design and Entrepreneurship class, Coaching Counseling and Academic advising and at each of these places, she left her mark of excellence.
She was also very involved in student government and served in multiple leadership roles, very athletic and was nominated as the athlete of the year during her time at Ashesi. She led and served beyond the Ashesi campus. In Berekuso, she was involved with developing the Design Thinking method of problem-solving class for junior high schoolers. Beyond Berekuso, she researched and analyzed the legal and regulatory regime in Ghana and how STEM education can be effectively delivered in schools across the country. As a passionate advocate for women’s issues, she worked to highlight the many high impact women around the world in 2017 and spent three months later that year in deep policy lobbying and advocacy work with a major women’s rights organization in Ghana. Beyond Ghana, she worked with a national centre that provided psychosocial support for children and youth from difficult circumstances.
In 2020, just before she embarked on her master’s degree in International Public Management, Governance, Diplomacy and Human Rights at Science Po, Paris, she worked with the Moremi Initiative Leadership Empowerment and Development (MILEAD) program to deliver leadership lessons to their 2020 cohort of fellows.
Zoe Tagboto, from Ghana, also graduated Summa Cum Laude (GPA of 3.85+ out of 4.00). She is a very energetic member of the Ashesi community who had an incredible growth mindset and always sought developing opportunities through both her experiences and from her work with others.
She pursued competence in multiple programming languages beyond academic requirements, as she wanted to develop a capacity to address a hearing impairment of a loved one. She hence embarked on various projects in this space such as; an application to enhance hearing for individuals who are hard of hearing using Digital Signal Processing in TasosDSP and Kotlin, used flutter to develop the first mobile application to teach Ghanaian Sign Language to prevent isolation between the deaf and hearing populations in Ghana, developed an application using OpenCV to translate basic American Sign Language into text to improve communication between the hearing and deaf community, and other amazing projects.
It is no wonder that she interned for companies both in Ghana and Canada and got into programs like the Google Women Techmakers Scholars Program and the Norman Foster Foundation Robotics Atelier Scholar program. When the first Ashesi Women’s Leadership program was held in 2019, her peers chose her as a model leader to serve on a panel to share her experiences with selected students across the country.
She served as Secretary of the Ashesi Student Council, a facilitator during the inaugural year of the Ashesi Success course, a founding member of the Ashesi sign language organization, and a fellow of the prestigious Melton Foundation Fellowship. She combined a sterling academic record with leading purposefully and graciously. Zoe is now an Engineering Analyst at Goldman Sachs.
Major Kadonzvo, from Zimbabwe, graduated Summa Cum Laude (GPA of 3.85+ out of 4.00). He is an outstanding academic performer who maintained an almost perfect GPA in Ashesi’s rigorous and demanding engineering program, and never ceased to excel beyond all expectations both academically and socially during his time at Ashesi.
He was very involved in many community initiatives and demonstrated a strong desire to create tangible and impactful social change in his surroundings. He was one of the early and most active volunteers for the Bowney Initiative which aimed to empower young women in Berekuso. He and others on the Bowney Team established the Berekuso community library to promote reading in the community, especially among girls. He tutored fellow students in Mathematics and Engineering courses. And was involved in mentoring freshmen in the Buddy up program as they try to find their way in a community that is distinctly different from what they were used to in their high schools.
He took part in an experimental farm project that explored hydroponics for farming and its possible introduction in Ashesi’s host communities. He joined friends in travelling to volunteer to teach in other parts of Ghana and he happily savoured every meal in a conscious effort to fully understand other people and places. These traits of global citizenship paved his way into the Melton Fellowship, a global network of problem-solvers working together to transform the world.
In 2018, Major was one of a very selected few students who spent the summer in the US to be part of a highly sought-after program: The Applied Methods and Research Experience (AMRE). This is an exchange program where Ashesi and College of Wooster students get the opportunity to apply classroom learning in the role of business and as organizational consultants and where student participants are exposed to practical applications of their liberal arts education in a “real world” setting.
When Ashesi launched its partnership with the Arizona State University in the special 3+1+1 program, he was one of the first cohorts of students in this accelerated master’s program for high performing students; and he represented Ashesi in Arizona with excellence in every aspect.
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