Liberian Journalist Graduates With Honors From US University

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Maryland, USA – A former female senior editor of a prominent Liberian daily has graduated with high honors from a Maryland-based university. This development comes after 24 months of intense coursework, marking the end of an academic journey that began in mid-2016.

Ms. Fatoumata N. Fofana, formerly of the Daily Observer newspaper, on Sunday, May 13, 2018, concluded her graduate program at the Adelphi-based University of Maryland University College (UMUC), USA, on a high note—graduating with a Master of Science degree in Management with emphasis on nonprofit (NGO), association & public sector management. Ms. Fofana exited the walls of UMUC with a whooping GPA of 3.917. It must be noted that she completed her undergrad studies with a GPA of 3.7 back in 2012. Ms. Fofana is also a former recipient of the UMUC presidential award for academic excellence, after maintaining a GPA of 4.00 for two successive semesters.

Now a nonprofit strategic management expert, Ms. Fofana dedicates her latest academic accomplishment to her mother, Fanta Konneh, whom she describes as an unrelenting, unapologetic inspiration she has remained dependent upon throughout her academic, professional and personal life. Like hundreds of young African women and girls, Fatoumata was denied access to education because her dad (deceased) believed education was only meant for the boy child—girls were meant to be domestic attendants.

In fact, it was a widely held notion among members of her immediate and extended families, as well as some members of her Mandingo ethnic group, that exposing a girl child to education directly equates to giving her the greenlight to become a woman with easy virtue. Said different, a deeply entrenched myth that education exposes girls to prostitution was very effective at keeping Fatoumata away from school for nearly 7 years. It would take a tough decision on the part of her mother, who no longer could bear seeing her daughter’s future being dragged in the mud, to remorselessly advocate for evolution in her husband’s gender perceptions.

When Fatoumata first started school at age nine, she was the tallest, oldest member of the KG class. As such, she was nicknamed “ABC Grandma”. But that wasn’t enough to deter her. She remained steadfast, focused and determined to attain educational enlightenment amid all the odds.

For instance, she learned to spell her name at age 9, before having a full grasp on the entire alphabet. The length of her first name was a bit of a problem for her – nine letters. So, her mother put it into a song and she was able to remember it within a few days. She recited her name at least twice each night before going to bed.

From the first grade, she received double promotions four years in a row.  By the fourth double promotion, her mother began to believe that the school was not challenging enough for her daughter.  She decided to send Fatoumata to Monrovia, Liberia, where she enrolled at St. Mary Catholic School, in search of a greater academic challenge.

A year later, she went for further studies in the Ghanaian coastal city of Cape Coast, West Africa. In Cape Coast, Fatoumata enrolled at the University Practice Secondary School (UPSS), where she did her senior secondary studies completing the A Levels and a West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate in August of 2003.

Fired up by her latest academic accomplishment, Fatoumata is poised to bring everything she has learned in the classroom, as it relates to management in general, to the field wherever she may apply herself.

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