An aspiring physician advocate

Emmanuela (Ella) Oppong '19

HOMETOWN: Middleburgh, N.Y.
MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering
MINOR: Anthropology

The world can be an unfair place. But with Emmanuela Oppong ’19 in it, at least one more person is fighting to change that.

Now a Watson Fellow studying social entrepreneurship in healthcare and conducting health research across the globe, Oppong plans to become an international physician. She wants to dedicate her life to serving and advocating for people in under-resourced and marginalized communities in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa.

She found paths toward these dreams everywhere at Union – in her academics, out in Schenectady, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

“I never felt limited at Union. It was a place to explore, learn and grow myself in every aspect possible,” Oppong said. “I think every student can attest to the fact that Union College works hard to ensure that we have access to incredible opportunities inside and outside of class.”

Oppong, who majored in biomedical engineering and had a minor in global service and education, was a member of African Dance Club and Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir. She volunteered at the Kenney Community Center and initiated a partnership between the College’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and Girls Inc. in Schenectady. Through it, she helped create a science, engineering and outreach program for young women.

Inside the classroom, Oppong studied everything from fluid transport to professional development to the beauty of narratives. She had mentors in Becker Career Center, the Departments of Biology, Sociology and Modern Languages & Literatures, the Academic Opportunity Program, and the Fellowships and Scholarships office.

The honors she earned at Union also took her home to Ghana. As a Davis Projects for Peace Scholar, she started a vocational school, where children learned sustainable skills like tailoring, knitting, cloth printing and shoemaking.

Oppong also won a prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, as well as one of Union’s top awards – the Josephine Daggett Prize for conduct and character.

“Union’s greatest strength is the platform it has created for students to seamlessly flow through the humanities, arts, social sciences, sciences and engineering – all while providing boundless chances to discover your life and goals beyond college,” Oppong said.

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