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Class of 2021: Priscilla Owusu

Priscilla Owusu came to the U.S. from Ghana with her family just eight short years ago and the first-generation student hasn’t let an opportunity pass her by since. Planning a career as a surgeon, she graduates with a major in Chemistry and specialization in Biochemistry plus an internship in shock trauma and research in coronavirus inhibitors. But along the way, she’s learned to sign in ASL classes, to compete in track and field, and to dance with Africa’s Legacy and other cultural groups.

Priscilla Owusu

Priscilla Owusu is a Chemistry major with a specialization in Biochemistry and a minor in French from Bowie, Maryland.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: scared as a first-generation student but also excited for the road ahead and the new person I was planning to become.

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: excited to this finish chapter and hopeful for what’s to come! 

Real world experiences: My internship and volunteer work at University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma Center cemented my plan to continue into the medical field. Hope to find myself in the OR someday. Doing research on small molecules to inhibit coronavirus during the summer 2020 and Jan term 2021 would be my favorite co-curricular not only because I was able to work with and form new relationships with some of my classmates, but I was also able to get to know Chemistry professor Dana Ferraris even more.

Aha moment: I love dancing, especially with my friends and being involved in multiple cultural groups on campus allowed me to dance in different ways. I found out that learning a new dance always found a way to make me feel better and less stressed.

Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: My footprints can be found in and out of the dance studio as well as Eaton and Lewis halls.

Professor who most influenced who I have become: Chemistry professor Dana Ferraris and French professor Martine Motard-Noar. They really saw potential in me and helped advise me in different aspects of my education and career plan. Dr. Ferraris totally changed my perspective on professors, and he brought me out of my shell. Mme. Motard-Noar always tried her best to check in on me and help me plan my way around some challenges. I really appreciate them.

My mentor. For life.: My mum, she will always be my rock!

Best class ever: I’ve had a lot of classes both in and outside of my major which have taught me very important things, however, I’m always going to remember my ASL classes with Paul Fitzpatrick. These classes helped me realize I love languages and allowed me to communicate with some coworkers and kids at my previous job. This is an experience I will always remember.

Took me totally by surprise: The relationship I’ve been able to form with staff and faculty, really shocked myself with that one. 

My favorite spot on campus: Basement of Hill Hall, for a while this was where my friends and I would hang-out to study or even choreograph new dances. Hill Hall also hosted Africa’s Legacy and HLA club meetings which was a fun experience for me.

Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: “We must learn when to be water and when to be rock” by Ira Zepp, Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus. I always saw this quote on the fountain in front of Baker Memorial Chapel and it took me a while to understand it but now it’s one of the words I live by.

My capstone: “The Design, Synthesis and Evaluation of inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease via fragment linking”

What it’s about: Developing small molecules that can inhibit the life cycle of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes the Covid-19 disease.

Capstone translated: Trying to make a drug here!!

What’s next: There’s a lot on the list so whichever comes first; taking the MCAT, applying to work as a Scribe, finally being able to travel to Europe and other things I’ve yet to think about!

About Priscilla

Name: Priscilla Owusu

Major: Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry

Minor: French

Class of 2021