Gifty Kessie, a second year at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, is an engaged student leader working towards increasing equity in the spaces she inhabits. Gifty currently serves as a Peer Leader at the River Hawk Scholars Academy, a Student Ambassador for the Francis College of Engineering, and a founding member of UMass Lowell’s Black Leadership Advisory Council, in addition to working for Girls Inc. In these various positions Gifty works towards increased representation for Black women in STEM, the creation of a more equitable and inclusive campus, and female empowerment and the success of first-generation and low-income college students.
Ever since a young age, it has been embedded in me to serve as a helping hand and my Ghanaian parents have always taught me to do everything from my heart with care. Growing up, my older brother said to me “It’s the little things in life that matter.” I never understood what he meant until I was introduced to the River Hawks Scholars Academy (RHSA). This organization was and still is the epitome of support. Being able to engage in activities to better myself and those around me motivated me to do more. I became a Peer Leader to be the helping hand for first-generation students like me and offer them the little things in life. It amazes me how much one can grow within a program and it inspired me to assist a select group of first-year students to do the same. As a woman of color, I notice the lack of diversity within the STEM fields and it is my goal to inspire other women to join while leading by example.