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Shining Star

Mansa Agbaku wins Currie Undergraduate Scholarship

Mansa Agbaku

Q: What was your immediate reaction upon hearing about the Currie scholarship being granted to you?

A: When I finished reading (and reading and reading) the email, which began with ‘Congratulations,’ I couldn’t swallow my scream. I ran to my mother in the next room and — almost incoherently — told her the news, and with tears streaming down our faces, we both fell to the floor. After hearing all of the noise, my father came rushing in, and I had hardly finished telling him what had happened before he took to the phones, calling my two sisters to share the news. It was a moment I will never forget.

Q: If you could say something to Dr. Currie, what would those words be?

A: I’d tell him that in the weeks following my scholarship offer, my father nearly beat down my bedroom door, standing before me with the widest eyes I’ve ever seen on a man. He told me, with pure happiness in his irises, that we had made Ghana News. If I could say something to Dr. Currie right now, I would tell him that because of his generosity, the little village on a hill that my father grew up in knows my name. And our kinfolk are praying for my success. I would say thank you until my tongue went numb.

Q: The scholarship is intended to support the education of future leaders. What do you think makes a good leader?

A: I personally believe that it takes a person who is empathetic to their very core, dreams bigger than most and is not afraid to say those dreams out loud – someone who can make you believe in their dream, even if it’s as unreal as jumping to the moon on a spring-loaded trampoline. If you have people who believe in your dream, you have people who will follow your progress to the ends of the earth, and a leader is nothing without those who choose to follow.

Q: You are enrolled in the bachelor of science program at UNB Fredericton. What attracted you to the science program?

A: Science has a vise grip on my heart. There seems to be a growing war against science, from misconceptions about vaccinations to denying evolution. I’d like to join the fight against that. I am especially interested in science as it pertains to medicine and humans, and I am utterly captivated by all things anatomical and physiological. After all, what a piece of work man is!

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?

A: If all goes well and I continue on the path I’ve envisioned for myself, I will have completed my first year of medical school and would be on my way to becoming a doctor. I would like to have studied and researched Alzheimer’s disease within these years, and perhaps gained new insight on this debilitating illness that has destroyed the intricate minds of many. I aim to be a part of a cure/treatment for any form of dementia, and I’d like to invest my time in that.

Q: What does your success mean for your parents? They both work hard and believe that hard work pays off. How would you describe their support and inspiration?

A: Every grocery store cashier and taxi driver is singing my praises. These are the people who stood behind my parents as they bent their spines for years to give my sisters and me the opportunities that they had only dreamed of at 18. Their support fuels my will to succeed and they inspire me to strive for excellence. They gave up their lives for me and I swear to God I will not stop until I can give them everything right back. They are the two loves of my life and I cannot wait to do something excellent with our last name.

Q: How would you describe the joy of writing?

A: I find it is unbelievably valuable to mankind to make connections through literature and language, to share emotional histories with one another, to attempt to uncover some of these almost inexplicable truths of humanity. To write and to share is to offer an interconnected understanding of what it means to be alive. I will advocate for putting pen to paper for as long as I live; it is the greatest form of art I’ll ever know.

Other recipients of the Currie Undergraduate Scholarships in 2015 are Christopher Lomond of Debert, NS; Corinne Trottier of Parrsboro, NS; and Luke Walker of Enmore, PE.

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