A Ghana native, Wilhelmina Antwi grew up in Uaddara Barracks, a military base in Kumasi. In 2019, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra. She went on to work on the political and communications team at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in Accra before moving to the United States in 2021.
Wilhelmina was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi while pursuing a master’s degree in communications at Kansas State University, and she is currently enrolled at The Pennsylvania State University to pursue a Ph.D. in mass communications.
Over the years, Wilhelmina has volunteered her multimedia talents to several non-profits, including GhScientific and the National Society of Black Engineers, Ghana. While serving on Kansas State’s International Coordinating Council (ICC), she helped organize several events to promote cultural understanding between local and international students and the community. She currently serves as a country ambassador for Citizens Initiative, a non-profit that supports needy and under-served African communities.
Let’s get to know Wilhelmina!
Why did you accept the invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi?
When I received the invitation, I initially thought it was spam because I wasn’t too conversant with honor societies in the US. But, after researching, I realized it was a legitimate and prestigious society with a rich history and vast network. I strongly believe in the power of networking and tapping into the wealth of knowledge of others to enhance my skill set.
Where does your passion for STEM education come from?
At GhScientific, I experienced firsthand how fulfilling it is to change people's mindsets about subjects perceived to be difficult because of the lack of experiential learning methods. I have seen the immense impact of practical education in the lives of students through several GhScientific programs, and volunteering during my undergraduate days gave me a sense of purpose. It made me realize the ripple effects of practical STEM education and the need to communicate its relevance, especially in developing countries like Ghana.
What is your favorite food or type of cuisine?
Most Ghanaian dishes are very spicy, so I love spicy food!
What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
Last winter, I was in Denver, Colorado, and I had so much fun walking on the snowy mountains and snow tubing.
What is the best gift you have been given?
The best gift I’ve ever received was a laptop. Before I left home for my undergrad studies, I felt my mum had gone over and beyond to ensure I had a comfortable life, so I didn’t want to inconvenience her. I got a job a few months before school started to raise funds for a laptop; unfortunately, the money wasn’t enough. I wasn’t expecting it, but when we got to the shop, my mum paid for the total cost and asked that I keep what I had saved up.
What three words would your family use to describe you?
Resilient, focused and dependable
What is your favorite thing about your hometown?
There’s this sense of community and togetherness where I grew up that I miss so much. At night, mostly on weekends, kids within the neighborhood would gather around a bonfire to listen to Ananse (folk) stories which usually had a moral lesson. I believe these experiences shaped who I am and how I view the world.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
One of my proudest moments was shooting a video and raising funds on the streets of Accra in 2016 to prevent the closure of West Africa’s only Planetarium, which happens to be one of two planetariums in Africa! Another moment was quite recently when I received the A.Q. Miller School's Bill Schenck-Hamlin Research Award, which recognizes graduate students' outstanding research efforts and productivity.
What piece of advice would you share with someone entering college?
Find a support system to keep you grounded during the good and not-so-good times at college. Have fun, and don’t focus on just getting a degree; take advantage of events, clubs etc., to add more value to yourself and build your network. Look out for volunteer opportunities or join campus groups/organizations to meet people from different countries and cultures to help broaden your worldviews/perspectives. Please don’t be too tough on yourself; it's okay to mess up occasionally; what’s important is to learn from them and avoid those pitfalls.
What motivates you to work hard?
My family is my greatest inspiration.
To learn more about Wilhelmina and connect, visit her profile within our online member community here.
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