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2012 Alumna Angela Donkor Honored at Magic Johnson Scholars Conference

08/06/12
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Angela Donkor ’12 receives congratulations from Magic Johnson at the recent Magic Johnson Scholars Conference, where she received three awards. (Photo by Nico Marks)

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Aug. 6, 2012

Only a few months after her graduation from Boston College, Angela Donkor ’12 — whose honors include the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship and a Gates Millennium Scholarship — continues to earn accolades. Donkor received three awards at last month’s Magic Johnson Scholars Conference, sponsored by the Magic Johnson Foundation.

The recipient of two previous Magic Johnson Foundation scholarships, Donkor was presented with her second Spirit of Taylor Michaels Award in as many years, in recognition of her service and leadership — in Africa, as well as in the United States. She also received the Graduate of the Year Award for high achievement and exceptional involvement during the conference, and the inaugural LinkedIn Networking Award for the most effective “elevator pitch” as judged by guest mentors and sponsor representatives.

“Whenever people ask where I find the strength to make my dreams happen, I tell them that I find it at the Magic Johnson Scholars Conference,” said Donkor. “For the past four years, I have grown up with the foundation supporting me every step of the way. To the outside world, Magic Johnson is a legendary basketball player and businessman, but to me he is, and will always be, a father and a friend.”

Earlier this summer, Donkor traveled to her native Ghana and worked with children in the St. Aubyns International School, where she taught English, Italian and elementary Chinese. It was her first visit to the country of her birth in more than 10 years; she immigrated with her family to Italy as a young child and eventually to the US.

“It had always been my dream to go to Ghana after college and to give back to my country, and BC made that happen for me,” said Donkor, who received a grant through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for her two-month stay in Ghana. “When I told people in Ghana that I had graduated from college, they were in shock because a young Ghanaian woman like me is not supposed to be a college graduate.”

Donkor made a point of forming special connections with her students: “I took them on excursions to see the best universities in Ghana. I also cooked for my students, since most of them are orphans, and I ate with them every day.”

“Angela has contributed so much to our program, her peers, and me personally as an educator and leader of this program,” said Kadar Lewis, manager of the scholarship program. “Her success and altruism while overcoming many challenges in life is a testament to what we seek to support in all of our scholars. She is a true 'outlier' and leader.”

While at BC, Donkor made service trips to Uganda and Rwanda, a sojourn that included work with orphans and interviews with women who used microfinance loans to improve their lives. She also undertook a research project on immigrant workers’ experiences in Kuwait, and studied in China for part of her junior year. In addition, Donkor was a volunteer at the Suffolk House of Correction and BC’s Student Admission Program, participated in the Eagle Ops and 48 Hours programs, and appeared in the University’s “What Will You Do?” PSA.

She will work as a paralegal at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City for two years, then plans to pursue a JD/MA in international diplomacy.

Read a profile of Angela Donkor that appeared as part of Chronicle’s “Six to Remember” feature this past spring at http://tinyurl.com/bqgoulh