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Shining Example

Mary Ankomah, ’20, selected by state as one of 29 Who Shine

When someone says, “I would go so far to say that she is the most impressive young person I have encountered in my 12-year professional career,” it should come as no surprise when that student is selected to be one of the state’s  “29 Who Shine.”

Jennifer MacCallum, who works in the BSU Center for Transformation Learning Honors Program, was speaking of Mary Ankomah, ’20, who was indeed chosen to represent Bridgewater State University as one of 29 Who Shine.

“She has made an impressive contribution to the BSU community, her local community and the state of Massachusetts,” MacCallum added.

The 29 Who Shine awards program is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, which each year recognizes 29 outstanding graduates from the commonwealth’s public higher education system.

During her time at BSU, Ankomah joined multiple organizations, including the African American Society that focuses on expanding ideologies, culture and understanding of underrepresented populations within the United States.

“It is my belief that engaging in civic life is a duty every human being should embark on regardless of their status,” she said.

Ankomah also participated in the flagship cohort of diversity and social justice fellows at BSU and has presented at national conferences.

She worked as a support advocate for the Seven Hills Foundation, where she helped individuals with disabilities take control of their lives.

The standout student also interned for the Committee to Elect Shannon Liss-Riordan, as well as Bottom Line, a non-profit that supports low-income and first-generation college students.

“Mary has played a part in the success of some of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable students receiving degrees,” said Sean Maguire, student scholars coordinator for the BSU Center for Transformation Learning.

Now armed with her BSU degree in political science, Ankomah intends to earn a second degree in public policy or public administration.

“I always believed education is the key to a well-rounded life,” she said. “I want to assist those on the verge, those feeling helpless or unheard. I want to bridge the gap between the struggle and the solution.”

The drive to help others may stem from her own experience. When she was 12, Ankomah moved from Italy to the United States.

“The transition wasn’t the easiest,” she said.

Ankomah had to adjust to the culture, language and customs.

“I faced several different adversities that I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” she said. “But my struggles are what made me strong. My struggles have humbled me and allowed me to become the person I am today.”

Ankomah is also thankful for support she received from BSU along the way.

“Bridgewater gave me the necessary tools to implement the changes I want to see,” she said. “I am most grateful for my education and the connections I have made, and this is all thanks to Bridgewater State University and its wonderful professors and administrators.”

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