Alexander Kwakye poses for a picture in his research laboratory at Florida Atlantic University.

Alexander Kwakye will start his PhD in Genetics at Stony Brook University in the Fall of 2020. Currently, Kwakye is undertaking a master’s thesis on gene expression in Alzheimer’s disease at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He received his bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. After his undergraduate studies, he worked at KNUST hospital as a laboratory scientist, during which time he assisted other people’s research, and started his applications to graduate school.

“I have had a very curious mind since childhood so when I grew up, I realized that the befitting career for me is being a research scientist. This drove my motivation towards a PhD after my undergraduate studies,” Kwakye says.

He took his first GRE in January 2017 and applied to a couple of PhD programs for the Fall 2017 admission cycle but did not get into any. He thought that his failure was due to his GRE score, so he re-took the test in August 2017 to improve the score. With more a competitive score, he applied to about ten (10) programs for the Fall 2018 admission cycle, some of which were master’s programs. He got into two master’s programs in the US and one master’s in Ghana, with no admission into a PhD program. By this time, he had realized that his failure to get into a PhD was at least not due to his GRE score, but his lack of research experience. He therefore took full advantage of the research opportunity given him during his master’s at FAU, and even won a Summer Research Assistantship worth $5000.00 in the Summer of 2019.

Alexander is extremely excited to be starting his PhD, but he believes that the experience he went through before getting into a PhD, although very challenging, has prepared him to become more resilient student and researcher. He understands that his struggles are not unique to him, but rather common for many students from Africa who are eager to pursue careers in research. Many of such students lose hope after several attempts or are too drained financially to try again. Kwakye’s journey illustrates that persistence pays off. Afrisnet commends Kwakye’s relentless efforts in his research pursuit and encourages other African students to learn from his and similar experiences.

Alexander Kwkye presents the results of his research at the Graduate and Professional Student’s Association Research Day at Florida Atlantic University in 2019.

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