Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Asantewaa Boateng '14

Making connections for the greater good

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Asantewaa Boateng '14 has created an e-magazine, Shout Out Sista (SOS), strives to empower teenage women and build a sense of community and pride.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Less than a month into the academic year, Wofford senior Asantewaa Boateng already has begun to give her time to service projects both on and off campus. The Sumter, S.C., native has passion for working with kids and young women.

“I usually look for opportunities where I can help kids,” the biology major says.

Boateng was one of a handful of Wofford juniors chosen to intern this summer at the Aspen Institute in Colorado. She credits much of this selection to her previous service work within the Spartanburg community. Much of Boateng’s involvement around town started out with her ambitious passion for being involved in the space around her and making a difference in the lives of others.

Her self-started e-magazine, Shout Out Sista (SOS), strives to empower teenage women and build a sense of community and pride. SOS started as a mentoring program for middle school-aged girls to teach them about self-worth. This led Boateng to work with A.V.I.D. (Advancing Via Individual Determination), a program at Carver Middle School that tutors eighth-graders, with hopes that they’ll be first-generation college attendees. Boateng continues to be invited to host, attend, monitor and be involved in events taking place at the school.

Boateng also continues to work with the Spartanburg Girls Home, now a part of the Hope Center for Children. She started working at the Girls Home just hoping to mentor them. However, this led her to work with Broken But Healed, a non-profit organization that works toward the empowerment of girls ages 5 to 17 and their families to help the girls further continue their education.

She also has worked with Spring Fling, an annual street fair hosted in downtown Spartanburg, painting the nails of young girls. Boateng now is involved with the Spartanburg Youth Council, helping to plan events and programs that empower and mentor youth around the area.

After graduation, Boateng plans to attend medical school. Her love for helping the younger population influences her desire to work in pediatrics or to become an obstetrician/gynecologist.

“Mothers are getting younger, so I’d still be working with the youth and making a difference,” she says.

Besides her service work, Boateng has shadowed doctors and has found that she likes “work that is fulfilling. I want to feel like I’m making a difference and an impact in the community.”

Boateng’s long-term dream is to open and run clinics both in the United States and in Ghana. The daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, she wants to bring her “love for both Ghana and medical care together.”

She had visited Ghana, but it wasn’t until she traveled there during Wofford’s January Interim that she really got to explore her Ghanaian roots. “I began to accept my heritage as a Ghanaian-American,” she says.

Both her parents are from small towns in Ghana where health care is below standard. The closest large town is still a long way away, so access to good health care is not readily available. Boateng wants to help these small towns.

Reflecting on her time Wofford, she says, “I’ve learned to get my name out there,” which has helped her pursue her passions.

In Sumter, Boateng already knew everyone she wanted to work with there, but Spartanburg was new to her and she was new to it. She learned how to make connections and how to keep them. “Meeting with Bill Barnet (former Spartanburg Mayor) and Mike Brown (Wofford supporter and former trustee) taught me how to speak on and share my passion with others,” she says.

Most importantly,The Space in the Mungo Center “helped a ton. They taught me that there’s a business aspect to pursuing great ideas.” Boateng also will be pursuing online crowd-funding to fund some big projects with Shout Out Sista.

With all of her success thus far, Boateng’s advice for her peers and incoming students is “don’t be afraid to get off campus.” She believes that there are great opportunities both on and off campus. She also believes that everyone should “find your passion and then build a community around that.” She learned that not all people are passionate about the same thing, but it’s important to find those with a common passion.

Although she is a biology major with medical school aspirations, Boateng’s internship with the Aspen Institute, where she was a special events intern, taught her the importance of balance. She learned about the business aspect of the professional world and the Aspen internship helped her to reaffirm her dream of working in health care.

“This has been a coming-of-age summer for me,” she says, “I have been thrown out of my comfort zone from Day 1, but I’ve gained experiences that have opened my mind and strengthened me as a person.”

Written by Tyrell Jemison, Wofford Class of 2014