STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Chelsea Akyeampong

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Chelsea Akyeampong
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Chelsea Akyeampong

Name: Chelsea Akyeampong
Major: Global Studies and Political Science
Minors: French, African Studies, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Year at UNL: Junior

Favorite book and why: Lilac Girls
It’s about the experiences during WWII and the Holocaust from the narration of three different women whose stories are all intertwined. Caroline Ferriday is a social advocate who scrapes up money from organizations to help children in Europe affected by the war and the Holocaust while Kasia Kuzmerick works as a courier for the underground resistance movement but eventually is sent to Ravensbrück where a doctor Herta Oberheuser is in command as apprentice. Their stories are intertwined when Caroline works with Kasia on being part of a team of women who tell their stories about their experience in the concentration camp and seeks medical attention for the physical damage she suffered while imprisoned. Herta is tried in court and Kasia is asked to testify against her. This is my favorite book because it demonstrates women empowerment and how we, women, strive to forgive, never forget the past, and look forward to a brighter future of peace and harmony.

Favorite movie and why: Disney’s Hercules
Because I love Greek Mythology and it’s a cute movie that tells the story of how one can go from “Zero to Hero” (like the song in the movie), from nobody to somebody which is something we in Global Studies strive for in order to bring about the changes we want to see in this world, as the next generation of global leaders. I love all the songs, my favorite being “I won’t say I’m in Love,” when Meg refuses to say she’s in love with Hercules. I think I have watched this movie over 10 times!

Why Global Studies?
I chose Global studies because I am very interested in international affairs especially how the international political system controls aid and development to developing countries in particularly, Africa. I wanted to broaden my scope and sense of community, so I chose to focus on Africa since it plays a big role in my heritage. I think this major is essential in understanding the world we live in today.

In fall of 2016, I took Social Justice and Human Rights in the Media, that advocated for those chained by contemporary slavery and subjected to inhumane treatment by human traffickers. I am especially concerned with the detrimental effects of human/sex trafficking and contemporary slavery in Africa in which we must address this problem. I took a political science course called National to Human Security, in which I gained more knowledge on the international community’s commitment in providing protection to the world’s most vulnerable victims. This led me to commit to joining coalitions that closely identify with my aspirations of protecting these individuals that the world has seemed to ignore since most of the attention is on parts of the world other than Africa. This Spring 2018 semester, I am taking political science class called, Immigration in Politics which seeks to understand concepts and theories of historical and contemporary immigration patterns. However, this class mainly focuses on immigration patterns and characteristics within American and barely mentions anything about Africans and their contribution to this concept. This leads me to seek more hands-on opportunities such as this program in which Africa and its people are the main focus of my studies.

Education Abroad:
This Fall of 2018, I am studying in Cameroon, Africa with the School for International Training (SIT) in which are studies are focused on development, modernization, and social change in Africa’s countries, particularly within the Cameroonian context. I haven’t been to Africa since 2003 which was when I travelled to Ghana as a five year old so I’m glad to be back. I will have to say, Africa is not like America and you can immediately tell once you get off the plane. I remember, when we were in the car driving to the monastery which was where we were staying for a few days during orientation, and I honestly thought we were going to get into an accident because of the way the driver was driving. In Paris, it was the same way and my catch phrase over there was “C’est la mort!” because you could die if you’re not careful crossing the street and it’s the same over here in Cameroon.

Within just one month of being here, we have covered so many topics like a couple of weeks ago, we were studying Civil Society Organizations in which we met with NGOs explaining how they contribute to Cameroon’s development either through promoting women’s rights or through advocacy. A couple of weeks ago, we travelled to a town near the ocean in the Southern part of Cameroon called Kribi, in which we visited some indigenous groups’ village called the Bagyeli and learned about how their rights are being abused by a number of factors. Our residence where we stayed at was on the edge of the ocean so we had plenty of access to the beach in which you will see in my photos. I will have to say the food is a lot more flavorful than in Paris and every time I go to lunch, samosas and ramen noodles are my go to comfort food. I have made so many friends and our personalities go so well together that we may have to have our own reality show because everyday there’s something else to add to our story in Cameroon. So stay tuned!

Post-Graduation Plans:
After graduation, I would like to enter into an internship that will provide me with tools needed in future world leadership positions such as working for the US State Department under the Secretary for African Affairs in establishing effective relations between African countries and the United States or work for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR) in improving conditions for refugees and establishing policies and legislation that address the significance of the detrimental uncertainty and vulnerability that stateless persons face. While working for the federal government, I will enter law school where I would like to study international and human rights law. My career path will involve drafting international legislation protecting the security of those most vulnerable to human rights violations. My goal is to follow in the footsteps of Amal Clooney!