How a first-year student/aspiring doctor makes a strong impression at Fredonia

Roger Coda
Incoming first-year student Effeh Badu.

Incoming first-year student Effeh Badu.

Even before she sets foot on campus for the first time, Effeh Badu has positioned herself for success at Fredonia.

Effeh immersed herself in all things Fredonia. She took the virtual campus tour, examined all facets of pre-health experiences that the university offers to students and engaged in lengthy discussions with faculty members about her background and career aspirations.

Just as valuable to the first-year student was taking in the university’s culture.

“What attracted me to Fredonia is their commitment to pushing students to learn beyond the four walls of the classroom,” Effeh said. “What led me to commit to Fredonia is how engaging the staff is; this school has been assisting me with getting to know the school at a deeper level, the programs they offer and mentors that I have met along the way.”

“What led me to commit to Fredonia is how engaging the staff is; this school has been assisting me with getting to know the school at a deeper level, the programs they offer and mentors that I have met along the way.” - Effeh Badu

A member of the National Honor Society throughout high school in New York City, Effeh followed a rigorous academic track that included Advanced Placement and Honors courses, so she brings strong academic credentials to Fredonia. She’s been accepted into the highly selective Honors Program, which challenges, supports and enriches student learning, and was awarded a $4,000 Keeper of the Dream Scholarship.

The bar for both accolades is high. Effeh is only one of a few students over the years to enter the Honors Program and receive a KOD scholarship. Honors students have gone on to win many of the university’s top awards, including the Lanford Presidential Prize.

Department of English Professor Natalie Gerber said her big takeaway from a lengthy telephone interview she had with Effeh was her seriousness.

“Effeh reached out to me in an email, did the virtual tour of the campus and met with me for the Honors Program,” said Dr. Gerber, who also directs the program. “What impressed me were her seriousness and determination; she really had taken the time to research Fredonia. She had some really good questions lined up for me throughout the interview.”

“What impressed me were her seriousness and determination; she really had taken the time to research Fredonia. She had some really good questions lined up for me throughout the interview.” - Dr. Natalie Gerber

The Honors Program provides students with a small community where they can feel supported, said Interim Associate Provost of Curriculum, Academic Support and Assessment Carmen Rivera. New this year is programming on wellness that includes attention to coping skills, anxiety and stress.

“The program is very well-rounded as it makes sure that both the mind and body are not only healthy but thriving,” Dr. Rivera said.

Interviews with Honors Program candidates typically last around 30 minutes, but Gerber’s conversation with Effeh went much longer, reaching nearly two hours.

Effeh’s resoluteness – for her academic work at Fredonia as well as a commitment to apply what she learns to make a difference in the world – was also conveyed in the essay she wrote as part of the Honors Program application process, Gerber noted. “I was very impressed with her essay; it was among the best that I had received,” she remarked.

“It makes me feel happy that someone who is so hard-working and so deserving receives the support that she needs to realize her dreams,” Gerber said. “Yes, it’s scholarship money, but both the KOD and Honors programs offer much more than that,” Gerber noted. “They also involve mentorship, participating in leadership training and career development activities and pursuing volunteer experiences and multicultural awareness activities.”

Part of Effeh’s conversation with Gerber explored aspirations to become a medical doctor and what Fredonia offers to contribute to her academic success. “We touched upon resources such as research opportunities, finding internships, shadowing experiences, how to balance school with extracurricular activities and excelling in my studies,” Effeh said.

A graduate of the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School, Effeh, who will follow a pre-med track at Fredonia, gained insight into how best to prepare for a career in medicine during a discussion with Department of Biology Professor Ted Lee. Effeh wants to learn how to make herself into a strong candidate when applying to medical schools, how the pre-health program would contribute to her undergraduate experience and what pre-med courses she will take at Fredonia.

Effeh worked throughout her high school years, as a library page at the New York Public Library, a brand representative at Hollister 5th Ave., a summer camp counselor for three years and as a nurses aide. To help support herself and her family, Effeh is currently working as a personal shopper for online grocer FreshDirect. She gathers and delivers groceries for people who are unable to go to stores due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Knowing the importance of pre-med clinical work and volunteering to the medical school admission process, Effeh gathered information about Fredonia’s clinical and volunteering experiences from Dr. Lee. The role that the Health Professions Advising Committee plays – including providing opportunities for students to engage in question/answer sessions with health professionals working in their desired fields – was also explored with Lee, who serves as its chair.

Effeh had already done her homework on Fredonia’s Honduras Medical Mission program, but she gained new insight from Lee.

Lee said he found Effeh to be very bright and engaging and was impressed with her thoughtfulness on the patient experience and the importance of a physician talking and listening to the patient.

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