Emily Emefa Fiankor is a second-year Fellow of Teach For Ghana(TFG).TFG is a non-profit organization that provides a two-year leadership development program focused on building solution-driven leaders who are expanding educational opportunities to all children in Ghana. She teaches Integrated Science at Afatsagbleve D/A Basic School, Akatsi South, in the Volta Region of Ghana, as part of the fellowship program. Emily earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the State University of New York College at Cortland and a Master of Arts in International Development from Eastern University, Pennsylvania. Emily is passionate about community development and values making a positive difference in the lives of others . When she is not in the classroom, you will find her munching on roasted plantains and groundnuts or dancing to afrobeats.
Why did I get into STEM?
STEM and I have been in a love-hate relationship. Growing up, I had a strong interest in the medical field, so it made sense to pursue biological sciences in the University. After taking courses in Organic Chemistry and Genetics, I questioned my interests in medicine. Moreover, I took a class about the sociocultural study of HIV/ AIDS, where my interest in community development heightened. I discovered that I wanted to make an impact in society by pursuing international development and not medicine. As a result, I cut ties with studying medicine. Little did I know that in my quest for community development, I would reunite with STEM through teaching integrated science to junior high school students in a rural area, which has been a rewarding experience.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
1.Organizing an adolescent sexual and reproductive health workshop for a hundred students (upper primary through JHS) in my school to provide pupils with increased knowledge on sexual and reproductive health that is vital to make informed decisions about their lives as well as to promote healthy sexual behaviors of students.
2. Being the Project Manager for the Afatsagbleve Basic School canteen construction, an ongoing project that I initiated and raised money (6000 Ghana Cedis) to contribute towards building a sustainable canteen for the school.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Teaching science in a limited resource environment- I have had to develop innovative ways to teach because there is inadequate science apparatus and no science laboratory. With the aid of the internet, YouTube, and local materials such as plastic bottles, I have been able to deliver creative lessons to assist with student learning.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
1.Do not compare yourself to others- you are unique. Stay focused on your journey and never hesitate to seek help when you need it.
2. Self-care is important- make sure you take good care of yourself as the field can be very stressful. Find something you enjoy doing and include it in your daily schedule.