The 2020 edition of the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) has presented a new face to assist Dr Elsie Effah Kauffman during this year’s competition. The new quiz mistress, Dr Anita Oppong-Quaicoe is a lecturer at the department of Chemistry at the University of Ghana and a former contestant of NSMQ representing her alma mater Ghana National College.
Sharing her story at the mentorship session of this year’s NMSQ competition she said, after her undergrad, she was encouraged by her dad to pick a form at University of Ghana which she did and finished with a first class. According to her, diligence was her my mantra and that is what kept her going.
When asked if she has a social life, she said, “Life is a balance and you need to apportion time for whatever you do.” Commenting on her eureka moments, she smiled saying, “As a lecturer, my high moment is when I’m able to convince my students that Chemistry is not a difficult course.”
According to Ms Oppong-Quicoe, her parents and relatives are her support system and speaking on the role mentors played in her life, she said “It is good to have mentors who will encourage you as you may sometimes be discouraged when you do not get the results that you are looking for.”
For Ms Oppong-Quaicoe, her mentors encouraged her to pursue higher ambitions especially by encouraging her to do her PhD abroad.
COVID 19 impact
The quiz mistress revealed that the pandemic had so far had both good and bad impact on our lives.
“We could not visit people nor attend social events and that interrupted the educational system. Having over a hundred students it interrupted research for my students. With that, I hope as time goes on we can find an appropriate remedy for our research processes,” she said.
For her, internet problems and its cost was also a problem for students and teaching staff alike.
Advise for youth
Her advise do the youth is that they should not be complacent. According to her, when complacency sets in it makes one become too comfortable. “When you start getting good results, never settle or relax. My father taught me that and that has get me going even when things are tough,” she advised.
She also admonished young people to pay attention to details. She also encouraged young girls to aspire to take up professions in the STEM field. For the lecturer, most women like herself feel special when they’re able to excel in what is called termed as the ‘‘man’s world’’.
She further entreated everyone to go for what they want in life even when they feel discouraged. Finally, she advised everyone to find someone who will encourage them despite how small their activities in life seem to be. “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity than an opportunity rather than having an opportunity that you are not prepared for,” she concluded.