The president of the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 awarded five undergraduates as the inaugural President’s Engagement Prize recipients. Each Prize recipient will receive a total sum of $150,000 to design and undertake fully-funded local, national or global engagement projects during the first year after graduation. AYE fellow and winner of the 2014 AYE Scholar Award, Shadrack Frimpong, was among the 5 recipients.
Shadrack’s background in leadership and academia makes him well deserving of this honor. He is the president and founder of Students for A Healthy Africa, one of the continent’s largest student-health movements, which has so far provided free health insurance for HIV/AIDS orphans in Ghana and constructed a health clinic and potable water well in two communities in rural Nigeria. A firm believer in the immense potential of women in Africa’s development, he also co-founded the African Research Academies for Women, which aim to bridge the wide gap between male and female scientists on the continent through annual summer research institutes for college women in Ghana and Nigeria. As a way of giving back, he also started a club at his high school that has assisted about 18 needy but brilliant students gain acceptances at elite U.S universities on full scholarships. These initiatives have merited numerous awards and recognition, including a prize from the United Nations and multiple invitations to meet former President Bill Clinton and other world leaders at the annual Clinton Global Initiative. In August 2013, he was awarded the Discovering Youth Leadership Fellowship from the Commonwealth Secretariat, for his excellent work on youth involvement in improving Africa’s healthcare. With faith in God, Shadrack also aspires to become one of Africa’s finest physician-scientists. As a University Scholar at Penn, he researches HIV latency and has worked with world-renowned scientists in Switzerland to discover the kinetics of HIV expression.
Shadrack will use his funds to build the Model School for Girls and Community Clinic in his home village, Tarkwa Breman, Ghana. The Tarkwa Breman Model School for Girls and Community Clinic will serve young girls in Tarkwa Breman, as well as other underprivileged girls in the seven nearby villages.
Recounting his experience as an AYE Fellow and Awards Scholar, he said, “I am very thankful that the AYE Awards exist. Not only do they celebrate accomplishments of young Africans, but also motivate them to remember their roots and to re-ignite their passions for giving”. “As an AYE Fellow and Awards Scholar, I was given the support and encouragement, without which I wouldn’t have been able to win the President’s Prize”, he added.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director and the entire staff, we would like to congratulate Shadrack on his achievements. His hard work and dedication to pursue excellence, in spite of his background in abject poverty, continues to serve as an example for other young Africans abroad. We are proud to have recognized Shadrack as the Young African Scholar of the year.