After completing my senior high school education, I eagerly pursued a bachelor's degree in physics education at the University of Education Winneba. It was a chapter of immense personal growth, where my interest in physics expanded exponentially, especially in the realm of optics. I graduated with first-class honours, an achievement I hold dear, as I was one of only two students to attain this distinction for a long time in the history of the university.
Coming from a less privileged background, my passion to uplift my family and community fuelled my aspirations. I yearned to pursue a course that merged engineering principles with my love for physics. It was during this time that I discovered Photonics, a field of study with immense potential, through a teaching assistant who was also a student at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). The allure of optics, combined with the opportunity to study in Finland, beckoned me to apply, despite the associated costs.
The journey from Ghana to Finland was a remarkable transition, introducing me to two vastly different cultures. The interactive and vibrant environment of Ghana contrasted with the reserved nature of Finnish society, posing challenges that tested my adaptability. However, my unwavering dedication and determination to succeed kept me going, even in the face of the unfamiliar cold weather. It was my unwavering commitment to make a positive impact that provided the motivation I needed.
Encountering snow for the first time was a breathtaking experience that filled me with awe and wonder. Alongside international friends, I forged strong bonds with fellow students, including those from Finland who radiated an African spirit, bridging cultural gaps effortlessly. Although learning the language posed a challenge, especially within my specialized field, I embraced the opportunity to broaden my horizons and appreciate the Finnish people's remarkable honesty.
Mastering Photonics and Charting a Research Path
My pursuit of a master's degree in Photonics at UEF marked a pivotal turning point in my academic journey. It laid the foundation for my transformation from a physics education background to a budding young scientist. Through intensive coursework, simulations, programming, and experimentation, I developed crucial skills that prepared me for the next phase of my academic pursuit—a Ph.D. My success would not have been possible without the invaluable support of the university staff and my supervisor, Matthieu Roussey, who guided me on my path towards becoming a self-sufficient researcher.
Throughout my master's and Ph.D. studies, the support of fellow researchers and my relationships beyond the confines of work played an integral role in my academic success. Immersed in an environment where people were genuinely committed to helping others grow, I found myself surrounded by mentors and colleagues who propelled me forward.
A Serene Haven for Studies and Research
Integrating into the city of Joensuu posed a considerable challenge, as with any new place. However, I consider myself fortunate to have formed relationships that provided unwavering support throughout my stay in Joensuu. The city's serene atmosphere perfectly complements my academic pursuits, providing an ideal environment for focused studies and research. Its calm and tranquil nature resonates with my personal lifestyle, making Joensuu an ideal place not just for me, but also for my future plans with my family.
My thirst for learning and capacity building remains insatiable. As I look ahead, my passion lies in delving deeper into the field of Integrated Photonics, encompassing design, simulations, and experimentation. With a strong foundation in leadership, I currently serve as the President of the European Optical Society Finnish Student Club. Combining my leadership experiences with my expertise in Integrated Photonics, my ultimate goal is to plan and execute innovative Integrated Photonics chips for sensor applications, particularly in the health sector. Through these endeavors, I aspire to make a meaningful impact in the world around me, contributing to advancements in healthcare and improving the lives of individuals globally.
Amidst the demands of academia, I treasure my leisure time, which I dedicate to spending moments with loved ones, indulging in activities such as fishing, and enjoying the simple pleasure of watching movies. These moments of relaxation and rejuvenation provide the necessary balance to my academic pursuits and remind me of the importance of cherishing the present.
As I reflect upon my journey thus far, I am grateful for the opportunities that have shaped me into the individual I am today. From a young student with a passion for physics to a dedicated researcher in Photonics, my experiences have been both transformative and rewarding. I owe my successes to the unwavering support of my family, mentors, and the welcoming communities that have embraced me along the way. As I continue to tread the path of knowledge and exploration, I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, determined to make a positive difference in the world through my contributions to the field of Integrated Photonics.