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Class of 2011: Student's Vision Spurs Others to Make a Global Impact

Related Photos Commencement 2011 Photo Gallery

Emmanuel Adomfeh, right, celebrates Commencement 2011 on May 15 with Uzezi Obaro-Best, co-founder of Third World Impact. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Albany, N.Y. (May 15, 2011) -- As a Ghanaian American who was born in the United Kingdom and raised in the United States, Emmanuel Adomfeh has grown up with a broad worldview that sets him apart from many students. As a child, Adomfeh visited Ghana, his parents' homeland, on numerous occasions, where he witnessed the disparities between those living in the developing world and those living in the U.S.

This outlook helped guide Adomfeh at UAlbany, where he founded and served as the first president of Third World Impact: a student group dedicated to raising student awareness of issues facing developing nations. The senior Biology and Africana Studies double major graduated from the University at Albany on May 15.

Whether it's helping spearhead clothing drives for victims of earthquake in the Haiti or advocating on the behalf of survivors of the Gatumba Massacre in Eastern Congo, Adomfeh and his colleagues at Third World Impact motivate UAlbany students into making a difference.

Borrowing a quote from Mohandas Gandhi, Adomfeh says, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world. We hope to turn the students of UAlbany into a force that will change the world."

Emmanuel Adomfeh fundraises for the world's needy

Emmanuel Adomfeh, left, has led efforts to raise awareness at UAlbany of the issues facing developing nations. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Adomfeh's message is being carried forward by students such as Nishtha Modi, who is spearheading an initiative to build a school and orphanage for HIV-positive children in Uganda. Third World Impact helped win a $25,000 grant through the Newman's Own Foundation to support the rebuilding efforts.

Adomfeh, whose family now lives in Clifton Park, N.Y., answered the call to help others early in his college career. He has been heavily involved in projects that assist the local refugee community in Albany, and has worked as an English language tutor for Burmese immigrants. As an active member of CSTEP, Adomfeh has tutored middle school students, high school students and fellow undergraduates in biology and chemistry for several years.

Notably, Adomfeh has participated in public health research at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, led a brief field expedition into a Ghanaian rainforest bordering Cote D'iVoire on behalf of research on chimpanzee evolution with Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Katy Gonder, and carried out infectious disease research at Stony Brook University.

These experiences have prepared him for his next adventure teaching. Before medical school, Adomfeh hopes to build upon his experience in the sciences to eliminate educational inequity in the United States through a teaching position. "Emmanuel is a natural leader, and would be a perfect fit for teaching," says Dan Wulff, professor of Biological Sciences and Adomfeh's academic advisor. "He is continually placing himself in leadership positions that inspire and enable others to make a difference as well."

Adomfeh also plans to return to Ghana after he has earned a medical degree, where he hopes to improve healthcare conditions. "In many parts of Africa, healthcare is quite inadequate," he said, noting an occasion where he observed three or four babies in one hospital bed, out of necessity. "But all it takes is a willingness to make a difference, and anyone can be that agent of change."

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