Celestine is my name, the last born of four children, and I am currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was born into quite a small family of one sister and two brothers. My late father was a public servant, and my mother is a retired civil servant who is currently based in Accra, Ghana. My father died of an unknown sickness exactly a year when I graduated from college. I was born and raised in Accra, Ghana; Accra is the capital city of Ghana. All my family are based in Ghana, and I am the only one who’s currently in the United States.
Though I grew up in the city, my family is not rich, and I am the only one with the highest level of education. My parents were not that educated; my father’s highest level of education was elementary and my mother was a high school graduate. Two of my siblings are high school graduates and the other one is a diploma holder. However, being the last born offered me much privilege, since my parents wanted to see one of their children climb higher in the level of education. I was therefore raised differently from my siblings, with serious guidance and discipline from my parents.
Growing up in a non-academic oriented family offered me the zeal and passion to be sedulous towards my education. Being the last of four siblings and the only one with a university degree, I was never deterred, but I was challenge to strive harder and achieve the highest level of education. Attaining the best level of education was very demanding, due to my poor economic background, but through the encouragement, support, and guidance of my parents and some leaders in the society I gradually picked up and excelled as I moved further up on the ladder of education.
I have interest in studying things related to mathematics. Mathematics broadens the knowledge and makes one thinks deeper and sharper. Mathematics is used as an essential tool in many fields such as natural science, medicine, engineering and economics. This motivated me to study science in the senior secondary school and to major in Agricultural Economics at the undergraduate level.
I obtained my elementary and high school education in a less endowed urban school, by way of qualified teachers. That notwithstanding, I persisted with my dreams, studied assiduously and mostly emerged on top of my class. After high school I gained admission to the University of Ghana, which is the best and premier university in Ghana. It is also an incredibly diverse community, which usually attract brainy students in Ghana, mostly students from well-endowed schools.
At my freshmen level, I felt like there was no belonging for me and so lonely. Fellow students will ask, “which high school are you from?” and me being from a low school, it was clear, I did not belong. But I never isolated myself from school gathering, I overlooked all the rejections and discrimination from other students and tried as much to mingle. My last three years was therefore a good stay in the school community.
After graduation, I moved to a rural community as a senior program officer to teach and train illiterates, dropouts, and repatriated trafficked children. This was a big task for me, since I had live in the city all my life, but also it was a transformation in my life. It made me understood that, as people we can never be the same, we are raised differently by different people in different environment, and we have different cultural values. I gained much experience and exposure from this rural community. I also learned to treat people nicely and equally no matter their background.
My parents (especially my mum) were the most influential people in my life. One thing I did when growing up, was to read worthwhile, and not just in my area of study. Reading about great people from poor background who defied all difficult situations just to work harder and accomplished it so well in life indeed inspired me a lot. It made me realized and discovered that success has nothing to do with your background, and that is all about diligence, determination, and with perseverance one can achieve whatever he or she want in life.
My study area in high school was science, with the dream of being a medical doctor, but as I climb the educational ladder my interest changed. This is so because, it has always been a paradox to me why poverty and hunger are so intense in some agrarian economies like that of sub-Saharan African countries, despite agriculture being the backbone of most economic growth. I therefore decided to pursue agricultural economics at the university to gain a better understanding to these issues, and how it can be solved. I have no regrets for the change of mind since that made me discovered my long-term career path and future goals. That was a defining moment in my life, I further applied to some good schools in agricultural economics for my masters’ degree, upon which I gained admission and scholarship to two of the schools, but I accepted the offer to Mississippi State University out of the two.
I am currently a first-year PhD student at the University of Minnesota studying applied economics. My research interest is in development, trade and policy. I am currently taking my coursework so I am yet to come up my dissertation topics, hopefully in my third year. My long term professional goal is to conduct research that will impact lot of lives and economies globally. I am very versatile, goal oriented, and have a track record of setting objectives and achieving them.
My talent is cooking. My family is endowed with cooking skills. To me cooking is a gift and is something I’m extremely passionate about. I’m able to prepare tasty food from little ingredients, and the easy with which I can learn new recipes is a distinct feature I have. I can prepare a few continental dishes and lot of local dishes.
My hobbies are reading, listening to music and current affairs, watching movies, and social networking. I love to read economics books related to trade, development, and growth quite often. I as well read novels, inspirational books, and on the media platform (BBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Economist and others). I derive so much joy in reading as I always motivate myself with saying “The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, and the more places you will go.
Further, I love to social network quite a lot. Meeting new people, making new friends, and staying in touch with them, has become so easy, thanks to this interactive web medium of social networking; is therefore something I often do for fun after a hard day’s work or for leisure.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Ghana - Bachelor of Science, Agricultural Economics
Graduate Degree: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Doctor of Philosophy, Applied Economics
• Reading, especially novels, magazines, economics books as well as other books related to development. • Listening to music and current affairs. • Watching movies and social networking.