On a trip to his native Ghana, Kevin Asirifi, ’20, and his family met a woman selling brooms. After buying one, the street vendor profusely thanked them for making it possible for her to eat that evening.
“That’s something that stuck with me to this day,” he said of the memory from the 2016 trip. “I’ll never forget it.”
Kevin knew he wanted to help his homeland, which faces significant income inequality issues. Thanks to his time at Bridgewater State University, he envisions a public health career as his way to aid the West African nation.
Kevin, who lives in Worcester and moved to the United States at age 3, has excelled in BSU’s public health major. He even landed a prestigious summer experience as one of 39 students from across the country chosen for the 2019 Future Public Health Leaders Program at the University of Michigan.
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 10-week program helps underrepresented students explore the public health field. Kevin attended workshops and seminars and interned in emergency management at the Michigan Medicine hospitals and health system. There, he observed an Ebola training exercise and worked on emergency education projects.
Kevin felt well prepared thanks to his BSU courses. Dr. Lydia Burak said that also reflects his work ethic.
“He is clearly motivated to learn,” said Burak, a professor in the Department of Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies. “From the outset in his very first introduction to public health class, he was clearly interested in pursuing a career in public health. …. He positions himself for success and he’s also really humble.”
Kevin praised interviewing advice he received from the Internship Office as well as supportive faculty such as Burak.
“I’ve had professors who truly care about what I am doing and how I’m moving forward in my life,” he said. “These are tough classes, but they’re preparing you for a career that has no breaks and something that’s bigger than yourself.”
Aside from academics, Kevin appreciates the diversity and culture on campus. He is vice president of Freeform Fashion.
“It’s a club that embraces individualism, uniqueness and being yourself,” he said. “It gives me the confidence to be who I am and say what I need to say.”
Kevin plans to initially work in the United States and is especially interested in serving mothers and children. But, he hasn’t lost sight of his goal of returning to West Africa.
“I feel like all the work I do will get me ready to work in Ghana,” he said, “and put myself in a position to go back home.”
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