be a dreamer at BC
Obiageli Ukadike’s dream is to serve people. It is a dream that led her to Boston College and, later, to found the WaWa Project, a nonprofit organization working to build a vocational boarding school for people with disabilities in Ghana.
Ghanaians with disabilities—often shunned and believed cursed—lack educational opportunities that would enable them to become self-sufficient. Ukadike believes that Ghana is on the edge of societal change and that the WaWa Project can ultimately change cultural attitudes.
“WaWa is an Adinkra symbol of hardiness, strength, and perseverance through hardship. That is why we chose it as the name of our organization; it represents the people we are serving,” she explains.
Ukadike earned her degree in psychology, thinking she might be a child psychologist. Working at the Perkins School for the Blind, she realized how much she enjoyed helping people with disabilities integrate into society, and a stint as a youth pastor confirmed that ministry to others must be at the center of her life’s work. Now, she is studying for her MBA in nonprofit management and entrepreneurship at Simmons College while working full-time at Harvard Medical School.
“My seven years after Boston College have been a journey to figure out who I want to be as a global citizen. The one thing I never compromise on is that I want to be serving others in whatever career path I choose.” She’s already well on her way.
What is your next goal?
To find a sustainable way to maintain the WaWa Project. I do not want just one school or to be just in Ghana, but to spread all over the world and help dispel the impression that people with disabilities are different or inferior, in any way, to people who do not have disabilities.
What is the secret to success?
Success is relative to what you desire to do in this world. Make sure that whatever you are doing is something you eat, live, and breathe; it is who you are and what you believe. True success comes from continuing to do what you love despite the obstacles.
What is something your friends don’t know about you?
Bachata is one of my favorite types of music to dance to.
What is your fondest BC memory?
Endless hours playing foosball and laughing with friends; you cannot beat that, especially when the foosball table is in your room!
What was your favorite BC class?
My favorite had to be the History of Rock and Roll. It was awesome.
What was your favorite BC activity?
The Sharps! I loved singing in an a cappella group.
Who would play you in the film version of your life?
I have no idea how to answer this question but I hope it would be someone like Maya Angelou, the activist, writer, and poet with a way of speaking that stirs the hearts of many.
What has been the most satisfying moment in your professional life?
From working at the Perkins School for the Blind and interning as a youth minister to working for Lindamood Bell and now Harvard Medical School, I have used so much of my education and learned incredible things about life and myself. If I had to choose the one most satisfying moment of my career, it would be helping to start and establish the WaWa Project.
In your personal life?
That is easy: being able to live out my beliefs, passions, dreams, and desires daily, in everything I do.
Why did you decide to attend BC?
I attended BC because it is an excellent school built on values of giving back and serving—all the things I desire for my life.
What is one thing everyone should do while at BC?
Attend at least one football game, of course!
Where is your favorite spot at the Heights?
Trinity Chapel on the Newton campus. I used to go there with a few of my closest friends to sit, talk, and sing.
Where did you live freshman year?
Fitzaga, Fitzpatrick side, third floor.
How much can you sing of the BC fight song?
First two verses and some of the chorus. It gets a little patchy after that.
What was the best meal at the BC dining hall?
What was affectionately known in the Rat dining hall as “fried goodness.”
What would you do if you were BC president for a day?
Waive all final exams for seniors during their final semester at BC.
What was your first job?
I was a program aide at the Perkins School for the Blind in the deaf-blind program.
How have you changed since graduation?
I have learned how to turn my education and passions into the work I do.
How do you relax?
I remember that life is not as stressful as I think it is, especially if I consider all the blessings I experience each day. I also read and hang out with some of my best friends.
What do you look forward to each day?
I know it sounds clichéd, but I look forward to every part of my day because I am at a place now where I try to commit myself only to things I am passionate about.