Shadrack Frimpong, C’15, has been chosen as one of five undergraduates to receive the first annual President’s Engagement Prizes, awarded to Penn students to design and undertake fully funded local, national, or global engagement projects during the year after they graduate. Frimpong will receive $50,000 for living expenses and as much as $100,000 for project implementation expenses to establish a girls’ school and medical clinic in Ghana. The prizes have been generously supported by University Trustee Judith Bollinger, WG’81, PAR’14, and William G. Bollinger, PAR’14; University Trustee Lee Spelman Doty, W’76, PAR’06, and George E. Doty, Jr., W’76, PAR’06; and Emeritus University Trustee James S. Riepe, W’65, WG’67, HON’10, PAR’98, and Gail Petty Riepe, CW’68, PAR’98.
Frimpong, a biology major with extensive global health coursework, will use the award to oversee construction of the tuition-free Tarkwa Breman Model School for Girls and Community Clinic in his home village in western Ghana.
“Harsh poverty in the village forces parents to place priority on male-child education,” says Frimpong. “Young girls are therefore denied access to education and are exposed to early marriages, sex trafficking, teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Using an innovative approach to female education and rural empowerment, the project will employ a new financial model that will capitalize on the existing agricultural and vocational skills found in the village.”
As a freshman at Penn, Frimpong established Students for a Healthy Africa, which provides free health insurance for orphans in Ghana and constructed a health clinic and potable water well in two communities in rural Nigeria. He has since co-founded African Research Academies for Women, highlighted earlier this year by the Clinton Global Initiative, which organizes annual summer research institutes for college women in Ghana and Nigeria.
Frimpong will travel to Ghana this summer to oversee plans for the school and clinic. He hopes to attend medical school beginning in the fall of 2016, pursuing joint degrees in medicine and health policy.