Education Without Boundaries
Maafio Appiah-Padi was looking for small liberal arts school with a strong study-abroad program and global focus, a track and field team, an economics major, and a peace studies program.
It’s no wonder, then, that Goucher kept popping up 99 percent of the time when she checked online college finders. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to look at this school,’” Appiah-Padi says.
After visiting Goucher, applying, and getting accepted, Appiah-Padi has found that the odds were definitely in her favor with her college search. Goucher delivers on all her requirements, and she is taking full advantage of the opportunities available to her here.
Her strong interest in studying abroad developed because her father works in international study at Bucknell University. Appiah-Padi grew up with the idea that it’s important to expand her studies, and she definitely wanted to have that opportunity in her college career. Thanks to a partnership with Goucher’s Office of International Studies, she will be spending the fall semester at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.
“I’m a little nervous,” she admits. “It’s going to be different. It will be the farthest I will have been from my parents and extended family” (which is very connected and close — she even gets together with her third cousins).
She’s also likely to miss the support and friendship of Goucher’s track and field team, for which she’s a “thrower.” She has been throwing the 9-pound shotput and hammer, and a little bit of discus, since her sophomore year of high school and has become a formidable force for the Gophers.
In terms of her academic growth, Appiah-Padi says Goucher gives her ample opportunity in her two primary fields of interest — economics and peace studies. Her interest in economics began at an early age, and her dream jobs include being an economic policy analyst in DC at a think tank or with the government.
She also thought for a while that she would go into politics. While she still cares about political affairs, she now realizes she doesn’t want to make it her career. Appiah-Padi recognizes that her approach to politics comes from a conflict resolution point of view, and she finds that taking courses in peace studies helps her to broaden both her skill set and her perspective.
Appiah-Padi is finding relevant and exciting ways to put these academic interests and abilities to use extracurricularly on campus. She uses her economic savvy to help guide the finance committee of the Student Government Association, which handles all student club requests for SGA funding. Her conflict resolution skills come in handy as they review all of the proposals and vote on which should be approved.
She also joined Goucher’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute campus network, a nationwide initiative that encourages students to conduct research and write policy regarding various public issues. “For me it’s an introduction to public policy and how to form it. It provides a network of students with similar interests, so it props you up as you move forward,” she says.
While Appiah-Padi has been enjoying her coursework and other pursuits, she concedes, “Goucher is definitely not an easy school. The academics are rigorous, but there’s a really strong support structure around everything. Professors are there for me and push me, but they are also there to talk to me if I’m having problems, and they’ll help me improve. Their goal is to make you succeed. It’s a good place to learn how to go off on your own.”