Meet Priscilla Hanson! Priscilla was born in Cape Coast in the Central Region of Ghana. She is the youngest of six siblings and comes from a family that truly understands the importance of education. Priscilla’s mother was forced to drop out of school when she was young because her family was unable to pay for it, and as a mother wants the opposite for her children. Priscilla’s mom sells biscuits and drinks on the side of the road to support her family and put food on the table, but unfortunately still struggles.
Priscilla is extremely hardworking, curious, and competitive. Her efforts in school do not go unnoticed, and teachers often name her as a student assistant or “cupboard girl.” She truly is a servant leader and is always looking to help others in whatever way she can, always being an example to those around her!
In the future, Priscilla wants to become a lawyer and serve as an advocate to ensure that Ghana is more just. We have no doubt she will accomplish her goals, and the GEC family so proud of the young woman she is becoming!
1. What were some graduation highlights?
I think the biggest highlight was having Lauren and London come to my graduation. It reminded me how quickly the time went by. I met them about the same time nine years ago when they came to Ghana in 2010, looking to start the non-profit. I didn’t have any plans to go to high school because I wouldn’t be able to afford it, so it was very surreal to see them there nine years later. I’ve had the GEC support system to get through college and now graduate, to have them there to support me was everything. Having that support system and being reminded of how things would be different if I hadn’t met them nine years ago.
My mom called me right before I went on the stage. She Facetimed me and I was able to share that moment with my family in Ghana. Derrick livestreamed the graduation for my family. Derrick sent me the video of everyone watching my graduation. When they mentioned my name on stage, the whole group went wild. 5,000 miles away they could share that moment. I was the first person to graduate from college in my family, so it was my family’s celebration. Having Lauren and London there in person and my family back home watching and sharing with them back home was very surreal.
2. What did it feel like?
It felt surreal. I don’t have emotions to explain it. I experience a lot of reflection about the four years. It’s been such a whirlwind. I haven’t even taken a breath. To see everything culminate. I was very inspired as the first in my family to graduate. I wanted to make sure I was giving it my all. I received two awards. I didn’t just graduate--my efforts were also recognized. In general, it felt surreal thinking back and being the first person in my family to do this. It felt like a lot of firsts. I wasn’t just the first person to graduate. I wasn’t doing it from my local university. I traveled all the way to the US. I wasn’t just graduating. I was graduating with honors. I got four publications in academic journals. I wanted to make it count - for myself and for my family.
3. What’s next for you?
I am currently living in Boston and taking a research year with two professors. I'm working at Beth Israel Medical Center, a teaching hospital for Harvard Medical school. I plan on applying to medical schools for Fall 2020.
4. One word about the Importance of GEC in your journey:
Transformative. GEC was the turning point of my life. Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I missed school that day and didn’t meet Lauren and London. It makes me really appreciate what I have now and inspires me to keep going to pursue my dreams.