ACI General Scholarship
When she was a child, Loislove Boakye (BWA-chay) spent much of her time in hospitals. Born prematurely in the United States to parents who are from Ghana, Boakye had to deal with a variety of health issues. That experience, particularly the care she was given, helped influence her career choice. “I always knew I wanted to be a physician,” she says. “That’s why I’m majoring in biology, hopefully to go to medical schools.” Now a senior at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, Boakye hopes to attend medical school, and become a cardiac thoracic surgeon or an emergency room surgeon.
When she was four years old, Boakye and her family moved to Ghana. “My Mom wanted us to understand where she grew up — to understand her language, to speak it,” Boakye says. “I think that is the main reason why we moved to Ghana, just to understand her culture.” Her mother was in Ghana earlier this year for her own mother’s funeral. Because of the pandemic, she was forced to remain in the country for eight months before she could return to the United States and Chicago in September, Boakye says.
Boakye is one of three children in the family. Her family was struggling financially after her father lost one of two full-time jobs, which meant that she was not able to pay tuition costs at college. “Knox did everything for my parents and I when we were struggling financially,” she says. “They helped me figure out a way to get extra aid or get more financial aid.”
Awarded an ACI General Scholarship, Boakye says she was able to remain at Knox. “Maybe I would have stayed home, and probably gone to community college, maybe taken a gap year, but by the grace of God I was able to get extra aid, just to finish off my final year. That was my biggest worry,” she says. In addition to the ACI scholarship, Boakye has other scholarships for academic achievement, service and leadership.
At Knox, Boakye is a member and was secretary of the college’s Harambee Club, for people of African descent. She also participates in ABLE, Allied Blacks for Liberty and Equality, which promotes cultural awareness and raises issues that affect students of African descent, and InterVarsity Christian fellowship, a Christian organization. Boakye works in Knox’s health services center and in the campus audio-visual department.
She calls her scholarship at “a blessing in disguise,” because she was unsure about how she would finance the final year of college. “I’m very, very grateful for the generosity of the donors,” Boakye adds.
ACI Peer Mentoring Program
Chandler Claudé graduated this spring with a degree in accounting from Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois. A first-generation college student who became an ACI peer mentor, Claudé grew up on Chicago’s South Side.
“I didn’t know many college graduates in my area,” he says. “Finding mentors was hard.” His family was poor, and his mother worked three jobs to help him stay in a private high school. Although Claudé wasn’t the strongest student in high school, he wanted to get a college degree to pay his mother back for her sacrifices.
At Monmouth College, Claudé says he “faced many struggles not fully understanding simple things like emotional intelligence, how to write an email to a professor, or develop effective time management skills.” A few months into freshman year, Claudé found a mentor, someone who truly understood the challenges he faced as a first-generation student. “We did homework together a lot,” Claudé. “He would text me to tell me to come to the library and get a study session in. My first semester I was able to get a 3.3, and I remember I was on Cloud 9. The hard work and accountability my newfound mentor gave me really started this.”
The experience prompted him to become an ACI peer mentor. “I have learned so much about life and school, and I felt that I needed to pass it on to another first-gen student,” he says. “I wanted to be a cheerleader for someone because that’s what I needed during my freshman year: having someone hold me accountable for study and goals was important.”
Claude’ appreciates the commitment of ACI donors who give to the organization and its student-focused programs. “This is a great investment because you are creating a family away from home and giving them meaningful resources to succeed through the tough college adjustment,” he adds.