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Chancellor's Award: Ermida Koduah 

Ermida Koduah shares her family's passion for education. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)  

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 21, 2017) – Ermida Koduah of the Bronx has an international focus. The recent winner of a Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, Koduah spent the spring semester of sophomore year in Dubai.

“It was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life,” she said. Most of the students from the university she attended lived abroad but went to school in Dubai, so she had the opportunity to encounter different cultures and religions from all over the world.

From studying Arabic to learning about Islamic civilizations, she became fascinated with the region. She also learned about the feminist movement in the Middle East/North Africa region from women who actually lived in the area, instead of the Western idea of feminism in the Middle East.

Ermida Koduah

Ermida Koduah, center, with Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and Interim President James Stellar.  

Koduah is no stranger to academic excellence, having won the Dr. Seth W. Spellman Achievement Award and U.S. Department of State study abroad scholarships.

She is the 2016-2017 recipient of the Rockefeller College Advisory Board Scholarship. This scholarship was established by Michael Lampert ’73 to provide scholarship support for students pursuing degrees at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, and is based on financial need or academic merit.

Academic excellence is a theme at home, and Koduah credits her parents and sister with being her role models.

“Immigrating from Italy at the age of 4, my parents moved to the U.S. in order for me to get a better education,” she said. “I grew up watching my mom work two jobs and complete nursing school as well as witnessing my dad go back to college at the age of 54 and receive a bachelor’s degree in accounting.”

In addition, her sister moved to New York at 19 as an international student and now is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing while working two jobs.

“Seeing them accomplish such hard tasks pushed me to be the best I could possibly be in college,” Koduah said.

She has taken a lot of great courses at UAlbany, but the one that had the greatest impact on her was a World Cities course taught by Professor Thomas Narins, with whom she is currently taking Topics in Globalization.

“His classes have improved my writing skills and he continues to spark my interest in international relations. Besides class, he has always given great advice on job opportunities in the international relations field,” Koduah said.

After taking World Cities, she decided to double major in Globalization and Political Science with a minor in International Studies.

“I took this class my junior year after I studied abroad in Dubai and I was able to apply my experience abroad with this class,” Koduah said.

As president of Sankofa Africa Organization, Koduah mentors high school students in the Albany community, planned a charity gala for an African non-profit organization, and performed dance for the University’s annual performance hosted by Black Theatre Productions in 2016.

“After I graduate, I plan on working in the U.S. and abroad for two or three years before I go back to earn a master’s degree in International Development. Additionally, I plan on traveling and dancing around the world and displaying this art through social media,” she said.

After that she plans to conduct research on identity and race relations abroad or begin her own non-profit organization.

“Engaging in my community was a huge aspect of my experience at UAlbany,” Koduah said. “I plan to continue to engage in my future community by giving back and holding educational discussions with people of all backgrounds.”

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