Boahemaa Adu-Oppong

With an uncompromising passion for both scientific practice and outreach, Boahemaa serves as an inspiration for the countless underserved students who she encourages and mentors towards improved scientific literacy and enthusiasm for the sciences.

While attaining her PhD is Boahemaa’s personal passion, she also successfully uses this graduate training as a tool to encourage and inspire young students. As a KIPP alumna, she made it a point to be a role model for other KIPPsters in the Houston area, leading them on field trips to Rice University, her undergraduate institution.

Outside of her work as a doctoral candidate in the Dantas Lab at Washington University, Boahemaa leads the Young Scientist Program (YSP), a graduate and medical student volunteer program dedicated to promoting and providing STEM research, education, and outreach opportunities to underrepresented and underprivileged K-12 students in the St. Louis region.  As Director, Boahemaa has led YSP to meaningfully refine and improve its programs, resulting in increased engagement from urban schools and with teachers who haven’t interacted with YSP for more than a decade. Boahemaa serves on YSP’s executive board, and is also one of its most active volunteers. She has volunteered for numerous teaching team events, where students are requested to teach hour-long, hands-on, science demonstrations in classrooms all over St. Louis.

Boahemaa’s community involvement with St. Louis Public Schools does not end with YSP. She actively participates in The Show Me Costa Rica Project which aims to provide an international learning experience focused on biology-related excursions for students at Vashon High School and Riverview Gardens. As Vashon teacher Samantha Lurie noted, “Boah has spent countless hours tutoring students, holding fundraisers, and organizing trips to the Botanical Gardens to prepare our students. Without her, I would not have earned a St. Louis Public Schools Teacher of the Year award this year.”

For Boahemaa, inspiring youth through science education fits hand-in-hand with her dedication as a graduate student. As her nominator and advisor Professor Gautam Dantas wrote: “Boahemaa has the exemplary character, drive, and scientific aptitude to easily be considered a superstar graduate student. However, what truly sets her apart from her peers is her ability to seemingly effortlessly balance her passion for community outreach with her commitment and productivity as a doctoral student.”