pursuing a graduate program in Biochemical Engineering with Industrial Management
had my undergraduate studies at a University where most teenag soers in my home country would rather not attend because of its geographical location. The University campus was situated in the Northern part of Ghana where there was harsh weather condition. During a typical dry season, the temperature rises as high as 44⁰C.
I was however enthusiastic when I gained entry into the Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry program. My admission into the program was a step in the right direction towards pursuing my career goals. I chose to attend the University for Development Studies because of the third trimester program run by the University. It was a mandatory 8 weeks' attachment that blended academic work with field work. It gave me the exposure to employ my theoretical knowledge to solving problems in the remotest communities of Northern Ghana. I saw the program as an opportunity to have the practical, hands-on experience I have always craved for.
Our research in the communities revealed the availability of abundant food produce and other natural resources. It opened my eyes to the endless possibilities these resources presented. The economy for instance will be boosted if we added value to these natural resources through large scale production of quality biobased products. I worked with some natives to produce shea butter from the nuts of the shea tree. I also learnt to produce a local alcoholic beverage named "pito" from sorghum and a spice named "dawadawa" from the seed of the African locust tree. Despite the natural resources at our disposal as a country, there is a handful of Ghanaian owned industries making recognizable strides in science and technology.
I want to pursue a graduate program in Biochemical Engineering with Industrial Management because of its practical approach to solving problems in the field of biofuels, pharmaceuticals, food and water treatment processes. I was involved in a research during my undergraduate studies under the thematic area of food and supplements (nutraceuticals) that focused on using a biologically innovative approach to solve a problem of food security. The ultimate goal was to discover an alternative to synthetic pesticides that have over the years posed health problems and proven to be environmentally unfriendly. The study investigated the use of the plant powders of asthma plant (Euphorbia hirta), bush mint (Hyptis spicigera) and African locust tree (Parkia bibliobosa) as crop protectants of beans. I was given the opportunity to orally present the abstract of the findings at a conference in Accra organized by the West Africa Network of Natural Product Research Scientist in collaboration with the Council for Plant and Medicine Research (WANNPRES/CPMR). It was worth noting that the bush mint and asthma plant would most likely be potent in preventing weevil infestation when used in higher doses. It was also fascinating how this research led to a recommendation to use extracts of the plant for further studies. The various research findings presented at the conference evidently revealed the contributions scientific research is making in industries. During my industrial internship at the chemistry laboratory of the Food Research Institute, I conducted proximate analysis on products from food, feed and brewing industries. Moments spent in and outside the laboratory on hands on projects have reinforced and solidified my decision to pursue a career in Biochemical engineering. These practical experiences have been an invaluable inspiration. I crave an experience where I can combine research findings with processes to design industrial products with a user friendly approach.
Currently, I am undertaking a one-year mandatory national service to my home country at the Food and Drugs Authority. I work with the Medical Devices, Cosmetics and Household Chemicals Inspectorate Division. We conduct Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Distribution Practices inspections in companies that manufacture and distribute medical devices, cosmetics and household chemicals respectively. We ascertain the company's compliance to International Standards to ensure quality and safe products. Each and every day at work presents an opportunity for me to learn and interact with manufacturers who are developing new products to address societal needs. I observe how different brands of soap, lotions, mouth washes, repellents and hair foods are produced and I have an insatiable desire to be the scientist behind some of these manufacturing plants and the brain behind some of these innovations.
My life's journey has not always been about academics. It has been liaised with leaderships roles, humanitarianism and service to society. During one of my summer breaks, I volunteered to teach mathematics and science at a high school in the Northern Region of Ghana to prepare students who were about to write their final examinations. It was a great pleasure explaining scientific principles and complex mathematical equations. I experienced immense joy when the faces of students brightened up after an incomprehensible concept suddenly became clear. Recently, I was also on a humanitarian tour with the Health Support Foundation at a community to provide free quality health care, livelihood empowerment and education to the inhabitants. I was excited about the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people. I worked with the livelihood empowerment team to teach the women how to make liquid soap, beaded necklaces and earrings. My life's mandate is to be in a position that directly impacts and empowers individuals within my sphere of influence and beyond.
I seek to pursue a career in science that is limitless in its pursuit and an MSc. in Biochemical Engineering with Industrial Management fits that description perfectly well. University of Sheffield's modules for the MSc Biochemical Engineering with Industrial Management also fits well with my career objectives. I would love to study at the University to experience the quality education provided through inspirational learning. I excited about the researches conducted by the University to solve worldwide problems. I would also love to experience different cultures outside my home country. It is my hope to return to Ghana to contribute my quota to the advancement of science, technology and industrialization after a fulfilling experience at University of Sheffield.