“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”- Nelson Mandela
Gifty Amarteifio, a senior Political Science and Public Administration major at Winona State University has taken these words to heart. She isn’t waiting until she’s finished with her own education before she begins making a difference in others’ education.
An active member of the student senate, the vice president of the national political science honor society and the former residence housing association president, Ms. Amarteifio actively engages with the Winona State University in a variety of ways. Her interest in primary education policy led her to an internship in Washington D.C. with the organization New Leaders for New Schools. This experience along with her passion for the work guides her future plans. She hopes to have a master’s degree in public policy and be working on policy formation in primary education. In her own words, “I want to be involved with the research that goes along with determining the policies that will be effective in improving the quality of education for our youth.”
In the meantime, Ms. Amarteifio is not waiting for the future to make change happen. She continues to be a leader at Winona State University through her work with the American Democracy Project. With the ADP, She worked on the Deliberative Polling Project of 2008 and helped organize a Deliberation Day at WSU around the issue of underage drinking. The event brought together community members, members of the administration and students to talk about the issue.
Ms. Amarteifio sees a strong connection between her engagement in the community and her academic work at WSU. As she says,
Being a Political Science and Public Admin major I feel I have the luxury of putting things that I have learned in the classroom into effect even before I get my diploma. Also, the civic engagement work that I have been fortunate enough to participate in allows me to supplement lectures from the classroom. It’s as though I learn something in the classroom, I am able to put it to use, see how it works, and it allows me to have an even firmer understanding of what my professors are teaching me.
Beyond her academic learning, Ms. Amarteifio’s civic engagement work has taught her other things as well;
I was surprised to realize just how many people actually want to get involved in this type of work. Not everyone wants to make a profession out of it, and I respect that, but I was please to see that people are genuinely interested in playing an active role in the changes of their world. It was encouraging to know that there were people who still cared and who cared enough to want to be a part of it.
With her experiences and passions, Ms. Amarteifio seems well on her way to leading that change.