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Rebecca Nyarko
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Rebecca Nyarko

Graduation year: 2018

Major: Public health

Minor: Psychology

Activities: L.O.V.E. (Ladies of Vital Essence), Badminton Club, African Student Association, Black Student Union

Internships: World Relief in Moline, Ill., fall 2017; Rinat Clinic in Ghana, winter 2018

Post-grad plans: I plan to get my CNA (certified nursing assistant) over the summer and apply to nursing schools within the next year.

Why Augustana?

I chose Augustana because of the small class sizes, the great financial aid and the student-to-faculty ratio. The campus was beautiful, and plus, it was far away from my parents, giving me the chance to be independent. Due to the small campus size, I had a better chance of recognizing and getting to know others because I would see them again. Augie offered a lot of opportunities in terms of succeeding socially and academically.

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

Not even close. I started off as a chemistry major, then biology, then pre-nursing and now I’m ending with public health. I knew coming in I was dead set on nursing, but I came to realize science was not my thing. So after talking to my advisor, she suggested public health, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s in the health field, so I’m not too far from what I wanted to do. Funny how things work out.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There are several folks who have helped me get to where I am today. Without the help of my family, I wouldn’t be here. With their help and sacrifice, I’m able to get a good education. I would like to thank all my advisors who were always available and ready to advise me…their dedication and the time they invested in me to make sure I succeeded, I appreciate y’all. I would also like to thank all my professors for everything they taught me. I would like to thank the L.O.V.E. girls for being a shoulder to lean on—y’all keep me sane.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was seeing how far I’ve come when I went on the West Africa study abroad trip. Getting to see where I started to almost being a college graduate, I never imagined this being possible. It made me realize how hungry I am for success, and as long as I keep pushing and putting in the effort, I will go far.

What surprised you?

I’ve become an independent African woman. I’ve learned that I can only do and take so much; it’s okay to ask for help. Also, I’ve learned to not be afraid to fail because I will come back better.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice for the West Africa Term where we went to Ghana (my homeland), Morocco and Senegal. It was amazing to learn about other cultures besides mine. I’m thankful for this experience; it was nice to be back home.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss my ladies. I’ll also miss this Augie community and my advisors. I’ll miss having some freedom.

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Do something that challenges you; get out your comfort zone. Don’t be like everyone else; stand out and leave your mark. Don’t forget your purpose and why you started in the first place.

“Rebecca Nyarko's passion for community service and outreach to underserved populations has taken her all over the world. Whether through her Senior Inquiry internship with refugee youth at World Relief in Moline, Ill.; volunteer work at a clinic in Ghana, Africa; or investing her time at Family Resources of the Quad Cities, she is adept at identifying and addressing the needs of her community locally and globally. Rebecca has seamlessly blended the Three P’s of public health (prevention, promotion, protection) with her desire to help others live healthier, happier lives, and we are excited to see where her travels will take her next!”

– Dr. Lena Hann, assistant professor, public health