The name Nancy Abu-Bonsrah is one that should be honoured. She is the first black woman to be accepted to the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where neurological surgery as a field of medicine was initially developed.
Nancy was raised in Ghana, where she was born and went to school at Cape Coast’s Wesley Girls’ High School. When she was 15 years old, she and her parents relocated to Maryland where she attended Mount Saint Mary’s University to complete her undergraduate studies in chemistry and biochemistry. She subsequently enrolled at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school, where she excelled both academically and clinically.
During her junior year of college, Nancy travelled to Ghana where she shadowed a neurosurgeon and saw the amazing surgeries he performed as well as the dire need for additional medical care in the nation. This trip ignited her interest in neurosurgery. “Usually when I think about brain surgery, I think the brain is sacred and you don’t touch it or do anything to it,” she said. “But to see them do these remarkable surgeries, and have good outcomes, was something that impressed me.” “I thought it would be nice to combine my interest in this field with an opportunity to give back to my country and other nations that don’t have as much surgical infrastructure,” she continued.
Kwabena Yamoah, a physician from Ghana who also attended the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is married to Nancy. When they were both in college, they first connected at a church function. Nancy is a devoted Seventh-Day Adventist who attributes her success to her faith. I want to be known for giving back to my community, whether it’s by offering high-quality surgical treatment or by supporting the training of the doctors of tomorrow, the woman added.
Given that neurosurgery is one of the most difficult and competitive medical specialities, Nancy’s accomplishment is impressive. Only 6% of neurosurgeons in the US are women, and only 1% of them are black, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Additionally, Johns Hopkins Hospital’s neurosurgery programme, which is ranked second in the nation, only accepts two to five residents yearly. Dr. Ben Carson, a former US secretary of housing and urban development and current presidential candidate, is one of its noteworthy former students.
Many young girls and women, especially those of African heritage, who want to work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) find inspiration in Nancy’s story. Nancy is a role model who shows that everything is possible with hard work, enthusiasm, and dedication, and we at Rising Africa want to recognise her today.
Tiffany Davis is not just an aerospace engineer, she is also a rocket scientist, a mentor, a speaker, and an inspiration for many young girls who aspire to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Her graduation photos from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016 went viral with the hashtag #YesIAmARocketScientist, showcasing her passion and achievement in a field that is often dominated by men and underrepresented by minorities.
Davis was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where she developed an interest in math and science at a young age. She attended engineering-driven summer camps and read books on astrophysics and engineering. She also conducted her own experiments at home, such as building a hovercraft out of a leaf blower and a plywood board. She graduated from high school with a full scholarship to Georgia Tech, where she majored in aerospace engineering and minored in French.
At Georgia Tech, Davis was involved in various extracurricular activities, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the African American Student Union (AASU), and the Georgia Tech Student Ambassadors. She also participated in several internships and co-ops at NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. She even got former President Barack Obama to visit the campus and talk about student affordability.
Davis graduated from Georgia Tech in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. She then joined Boeing as part of the Corporate Engineering Leadership Rotation Program, where she worked on different projects across the country. She is currently working as a spacecraft vehicle manager in Washington D.C., where she oversees all space vehicle operations and mission planning. She is also pursuing a Master of Science in Computer Science at Georgia Tech online, focusing on artificial intelligence and machine learning applications for future space exploration missions. Click here to continue reading about Tiffany Davis.