Doing Undergraduate Research That Matters

Half the Sky talks a lot about what we can all do to fight for the rights of women around the world.  Kristoff and WuDunn encourage Americans to get out and see the rest of the world; to learn about poverty and oppression on the ground.

One GW student is doing just that.  Sally Nuamah, a GW senior was just awarded a new fellowship to do research in Ghana for the upcoming academic year.  Not only is she doing substantive research as an undergraduate, but also educating others about women in other parts of the world.

When Sally Nuamah studied abroad in Ghana last year, she taped nearly 40 interviews with girls and women in the West African country. She asked them an array of questions about their academic experiences and perceptions of their abilities, but kept asking herself the same one: What are they doing in Ghana that we are not doing in the U.S.?

Struck by the articulate and intellectual responses, particularly from the students from low-income, single-parent families who attended under-resourced schools, the political science major’s curiosity continued after returning to campus.

She is now creating a documentary based on the interviews and is returning to Ghana this year to continue her research thanks to a $10,000 award, a faculty mentor and the beginnings of a research project titled “Educate a Woman, Educate a Nation: The Determinants of Academic Success for Female Students in Ghana.”

You too can do real and important research as an undergraduate – even a freshman.  If you feel strongly about the rights of women around the world (or whatever you feel strongly about) I encourage you to look for opportunities on campus (or create your own) to contribute to that body of knowledge.

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