2017-Edoukou Aka-Ezoua

Edoukou Aka-Ezoua

First Major:      Psychology

Second Major:  Women and Gender Studies

 

300 Word Statement

The Lafayette Ideal is an individual who uses their abilities to enact change on and off campus in a variety of different ways. They strive to add to the colorful dynamic of the Lafayette community, learn from others they live and work with, and make a positive impact in whatever way they can. I have taken it upon myself to uphold these ideals and I believe these have been reflected in my experiences.

From helping a case manager develop an operating manual for a transitional shelter in Easton, PA to making sure female students of color felt supported on campus, I had always felt it was important for me to use the skills I had gained from life experiences to do something impactful. I took part in insightful research with faculty here and abroad so that I could contribute to practical solutions that could be applied to the real life problems. I engaged in community service projects in the Lehigh Valley because I wanted to leave something behind to a community that was helping me grow and learn in unique ways. I became president of NIA, a support group for women of color, because I knew how it felt to want to find a place in which you felt like you belonged, to know that you had a purpose. I wanted to become the advocate I did not have when I was transitioning into Lafayette.

As I reflect, I am reminded about the meaningful connections I have made with my campus peers and members of the Lehigh Valley community. I realize that I am part of something much bigger than myself. Nonetheless, I am honored to have been able to serve my community in ways that I had never imagined.

 

Academic Activities/Awards – Total Years Involved

  • 2013 Bill Gates Millennium Scholar (4)

A prestigious and competitive scholarships awarded to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need. 1,000 students awarded each year. During my application year, more than 49,000 students had applied.

  • 2013 Horatio Alger Scholar (4)

A need-based college scholarship given to students who have overcome significant adversity.

  • Psi Chi International Honor Society (2)

Psi Chi is an international honor society in psychology and I was inducted into the society in April of 2015.

  • Excel Scholar (1)

I am currently Dr. Lauren J. Myers’ excel scholar. The project I am on is entitled: Do Toddlers Learn from Video Chat? : Investigating the social mechanisms behind toddlers’ understanding of video chat. I have been working with Professor Myers and other scholars since May of 2016. I help with recruiting children and families around the Lehigh Valley at libraries, children’s events, and the Easton and Emmaus Farmers Markets to come into the lab. I implement study procedures to collect behavioral data on children. I code observational data based on established criteria. I am also responsible for scheduling and contacting potential families for appointments to come into the Kids Lab.

  • Summer Research Scholar-Institute of Social Science Research, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia (1)

During the fall semester abroad my junior year, I was summer research scholar at the University of Queensland in Queensland, Australia. The project I worked on was entitled: Learning Catalysts: Improving Educational Outcomes for Disadvantaged Children. I investigated the construct of school belonging as both an explanatory and outcome variable and how it might contribute to improved educational outcomes for students from disadvantaged families. I worked with quantitative survey data from school students and families and conducted preliminary analyses on STATA. Additionally, I collaborated with supervisors in constructing and finding ways to measure different variables (parent education, socioeconomic status, etc.).

  • Psychology Honors Thesis: Social support as a moderator in the link between financial strain and psychological well-being

This project seeks to investigate how perceived social support can protect against the negative effects of financial strain on psychological well-being in a sample of low-income individuals in Easton, PA. I am working with four different agencies in Easton that will help me distribute questionnaires to low income individuals who use their services.

 

Campus Service/Activities and Awards – Total Years Involved

  • NIA- A support group for Women of Color (4)

I have been a member of NIA since my freshman year. I have been on the board since my sophomore year. I was Public Relations Officer in my sophomore year, Vice President of Social Programming in junior year, and the I am currently the president. NIA works to make sure that women of color are supported on this campus through regular biweekly general body meetings, educational programming, brownbags, sister bonding events, and conferences. As president, I develop social and educational programming for the organization in collaboration with board. I am responsible for overseeing all NIA decisions, activities, and functions.  This year, we have successfully held our annual Zumbathon for breast cancer awareness month, have increased membership significantly, curated an art exhibition, started a NIA big sister little sister mentorship, and we are currently organizing a Black girl magic symposium to be held in May. 

  • The Lafayette (3)

I served as a designer for The Lafayette my freshman and part of my sophomore year. My sophomore going into my junior year I was the Web and Social Media Manager. I oversaw the management of the college newspaper’s website, Facebook, and Twitter and I responsible for maintaining communication with the Lafayette College ITS department. During my tenure as manager, I significantly increased the amount of followers The Lafayette had on all three social media platforms, thus improving their online presence.  

 

Community Service – Total Years Involved

  • Volunteer at Ruth’s Place: Emergency Women’s Shelter (1)

During the summer after my freshman year, I volunteered at a women emergency women’s shelter. I conducted phone and intake assessments. I assisted resident advisers by completing safety checklists and dispensing medication to clients. I also generated and mailed thank you notes. I collected and managed donations received from patrons. Additionally, I assisted in the daily monitoring of clients and shelter.

  • Intern, Valley Youth House Shelter (1)

My fall semester of sophomore year, I interned at a emergency youth shelter in Bethlehem, PA. I monitored and maintained order among residents, making sure rules were followed; helped with discipline. I encouraged and interacted with residents on different tasks and activities [Cooking dinner, outings, etc.]. I assisted staff and counselors with recreation activities and transportation of residents. I completed house checks and assisted in the preparation of progress notes on residents.I also had the pleasure of planning a Halloween party for the residents with other interns. Lastly, I facilitated a group session on long and short-term goals.

  • Intern, Easton Area Neighborhood Center (2)

During the spring semester of my sophomore year, I interned at the Easton Area Neighborhood Center. I had a variety of responsibilities but the most impactful one was collaborating with Case Program Director in developing new shelter regulations for RoofOver Transitional Shelter [one of programs of the Center] and a new operating manual for the shelter. Additionally, I assisted the Case Manager in running group and individual sessions for  ASPIRE, a local teen parent program. I also volunteered weekly at the Center’s food bank by completing new client intakes and basic office duties. I currently volunteer at the agency on a per diem basis. This past fall semester, I created a mixed media presentation for the agency’s annual  Night at the Races Fundraiser.

 

Athletic Activity/Award – Total Years Involved

 

Special Interest – Total Years Involved

  • Child Respite Mentor (1)

I currently work part-time as a child respite mentor for the Valley Youth House Agency in Allentown, PA. I provide emotional, behavioral, and respite support to assigned clients who have a mental health diagnosis or at risk youth, in either the home, school, or community setting.

  • Don Juans (1)

I currently work part-time as a counter associate at Don Juans Mex Grill.

2017 Winner

Finalists 2017

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