AN INTERVIEW WITH MUNKAILA MUSAH, 2018/2019 ASO SECRETARY

ASO as a student organization at Michigan Tech seeks to boost the interaction among its members. One of the ways it seeks to do that is to highlight the experiences and lives of its members. As an organization that dwells on the social interaction of its past, present, and future members, I hope this interview brings you a bit closer to Munkaila.

“When there is unity, there is always victory.” – Publilius Syrus

Q: Please tell us about yourself?

A: Munkaila Musah is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Forest Resource and Environmental Science studying Wood Science Technology and Forest Biomaterial. He completed a Bachelor of Science Education degree in Biochemistry and a Master of Philosophy in Environmental Science at the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana. He obtained a Master of Science degree in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology from Michigan Tech. He worked with the Center for School and Community Science and Technology Studies (SACOST), University of Education, Winneba, Ghana as a Research Assistant for two years before joining Dannex Pharmaceuticals as a Medical Representative. He is a co-founder and a board member of Health Research and Policy Africa, a nongovernmental organization aimed at creating a multi-layered platform in education, empowerment, research, community engagement, and development in Africa. Munkaila’s Ph.D. research gave an interdisciplinary perspective on sustainability in relation to wood materials and industrial processes, raw material utilization in the wood value chain from forest to finished product.

Q: How did you end up in MTU?

A: I was working with grants4plants in Switzerland on West African cycad (Encephalartos barteri) while in Ghana where we were looking for primers for genome sequence analysis. My search brought me to Prof. Oliver Gailing in MTU who was fascinated about the work and recommended that I look into it for my Ph.D.

Q: How did you get involved with ASO and what have been your experiences so far?

A: I met Edzordzi Agbozo and Tolulope Odebunmi on my way to Jim’s food mart who happens to be the first Africans I met at Michigan Tech after a month staying off campus as I reported late, and I only went to my department for lectures. They introduced themselves and with excitement asked me if I knew of ASO. They talked about the organization and asked me to join the next meeting. I was happy to meet my people and was never left behind.

Q: Share with us your favorite memories about ASO events since you became a member.

A: Last year’s African Night was especially great for me as I was on stage with the “Jama” group singing and dancing with energy and vigor. I remember our favorite enchantment – Huhaahaa!!!!!! I also enjoyed the ‘Yetunde’ performance and dance I did with Pao at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Finlandia University during the Meraki Youth Arts Fest 2019.

Q: Share with us some of your tips for surviving as a student at Michigan Tech?

A: Be open-minded. Get involved in activities especially ASO activities which are often fun and lovely. Find some trusted people to whom you can share your problems and do not be afraid to seek help when needed. We are family and together we are stronger.

Q: What will be your message to the current and future executives of the association?

A: The association is for the people and the people make up the association. Be flexible enough to accommodate all and use the diversity in the association as strength. Let’s strive to build and nurture a culture where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative; where there is a deep sense of pride, passion and belonging that transcends any role, language or country and is unified in our shared commitment to excellence, innovation and social responsibility.

Thank you Munkaila Musah for granting us this interview. I am hopeful that ASO members will find your journey and tips for surviving as a husky very useful.

Please feel free to leave a comment and contact me at mnyansa@mtu.edu if you have any concerns about this post or would like to grant an interview.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all members who graduated this year. ASO is proud of your hardwork and dedication.

Until I bring you more tea on our valuable members, stay home, social distance, use a mask when you are outside and wash your hands regularly.

With love and kindness,

Monica Nyansa

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