Unfortunately, when you see the city of Mount Vernon in the headlines in the news – including in Black Westchester – it’s not good news. But as a Mount Vernonite myself, it is always a pleasure when I can share some good news and shine a bright light on my city. This is one of those times. This is not only good news; this is incredible news. Efua Forson, the valedictorian at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy, has accepted a full scholarship to the prestigious Ivy League academic powerhouse, Harvard University, and will be attending the fall. She formally accepted the university offer on Thursday, April 22, 2021, with a ceremonial signing at the STEAM Academy. At the ceremony, Forson also knows as Maame was joined by her family, mentors, and members of the School District community, including Superintendent Dr. Kenneth R. Hamilton, among others.
“I am proud to have witnessed Maame’s impressive achievements and am excited to see her embark on the next chapter of her academic pursuits as a student at the prestigious Harvard University,” Dr. Hamilton shares with Black Westchester. “Maame’s journey is a testament that the District’s commitment to academic excellence is taking root.”
Maame makes history as the first woman of color to get a full ride to Harvard in the district’s history. She hopes to inspire other girls of color to succeed in a field not known for its diversity. “If I can make it, they can do it,” she tells News 12.
If that wasn’t enough to celebrate, she was also awarded full scholarships to Johns Hopkins University, Duke University and the University of Notre Dame, Bowdoin College, Amherst College, and Swarthmore College. Forson plans to major in neuroscience with a minor in African American studies or Spanish. Her goal is to become a physician eventually. She is an example of the greatness that comes from Mount Vernon that often gets overshadowed by negative headlines about the city.
Forson is the school’s valedictorian and will graduate with a 4.1 GPA. As a high school student, Forson has served in various leadership positions and has been a member of organizations including the National Honor Society, Superintendent’s Advisory Council, Student Government, Human Rights Institute for High School Leaders HerHonor Mentoring, among others. She is currently the student trustee for the Board of Education. Forson has also participated in secondary education-organized programs such as Notre Dame Summer Scholars as well as Lehman College’s Math Program, Biology Spring Internship Program, and PCOPP Summer Program.
Forson was also awarded full scholarships to Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, University of Notre Dame, and Swarthmore College. Other universities and colleges, including Fordham University, Northeastern University, and Binghamton University, awarded Forson partial scholarships. She is the first female student of color in the District’s documented history to be accepted with a full ride to Harvard University.
“While Harvard offers the prestige in its name, I am most looking forward to the collaborative environment that the university offers,” said Forson. “Coming from a low-income family, I appreciate that the school makes no differentiation between financial-based scholarships and others, so all students live in the same dorm, are on the same meal plan, and begin their undergraduate careers on a level playing field.”
While attending Harvard, Forson plans to major in Neuroscience and complete a minor in African American Studies or Spanish. She is looking forward to exploring the university’s courses in Twi, the native language of Ghana, and part of the African Language Program at Harvard.
“I hope to continue my education by attending medical school and becoming a physician,” said Forson. “My little brother was born prematurely and has since been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD). A connection has been made between premature births and such disorders, and I hope that I can better explore the world of neuroscience to better understand the inner workings of the brain and its development while researching solutions to many of the behavioral issues people face today.”
Forson is excited for the many benefits that Harvard offers, including its proximity to other colleges and universities, allowing for more significant connections with fellow college students, and the amenities of a large city.
Black Westchester is proud to celebrate, salute and spotlight the academic achievements of Efua Forson as she carves her name in the African-American History books!!!