Philomena Quainoo (L) and her mentor, Peggy Owusu (R).
Our brightest students reach for opportunities that may lie just
beyond their grasp. The College of Arts and Sciences Student
Assistance Fund closes the gap.
Philomena Quainoo’s parents are Ghanaian, so Philomena
grew up in Ghanaian household. But that household was in Queens,
New York. That’s why Philomena, who is now a senior-year
social sciences major in the College of Arts and Sciences, jumped
at the chance to join a SUNY study abroad trip to Ghana. To learn
about the social systems in a country she’d heard tales from
all her life but never visited—what a perfect
The cost was hard. Philomena worked and saved and raised funds.
But she came up short. Her parents and her mentor, UB-graduate and
fellow Ghanaian-American Peggy Owusu, urged her to go ahead.
And she went. She and fellow student-travelers visited schools
and social service agencies. Everything she heard, touched,
smelled, saw connected her to the culture that had existed in her
imagination but that she’d never known directly. The group
went to Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region, where she saw
the unmovable sword of Okomfo Anokye, buried to its hilt in the
ground, which will spell the end of the Ashanti Kingdom if
it’s ever pulled out.
When Philomena returned to Buffalo, she expected to suspend her
studies while she raised funds to pay the balance of her study
abroad tuition. She couldn’t complete her senior year and
graduate without doing so. That’s when the College of Arts
and Sciences Student Assistance Fund stepped in and paid the
That’s what the Student Assistance Fund exists to do: help
students grasp what their ambition reaches for. By making small
financial contributions to fill funding gaps that lie between
students and their timely graduation, the fund makes their
four-year-long dreams come true.