In August 2005, after my undergraduate studies, I was selected to attend LEAP Africa’s leadership workshop in Abuja.
The workshop was in a class of its own and I met some amazing people. Some of the questions asked were very new to me. We were asked to write down our short and long term goals; say were we wanted to be in five years etc. Other topics included being a positive influence in society and how to give back to others.
The biggest thing that stuck with me was the fact that I did not have to be popular or be a celebrity to make a difference! The workshop was eye-opening and after it was over, I knew I had some work to do!
I get fulfillment in helping others because I know that if I am given much, much is expected from me. All leaders may not sit behind the big desks or be in the spotlight. However, little steps in the right direction go a long way in changing the lives of those around you, this is MY story!
Fast forward to 2007, I had just moved to the United States for a PhD program in analytical chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio and was engaged in graduate research. I knew I had to multi task to be effective with my passion to serve others. So, I did my coursework, taught undergraduate classes as required and found time to serve my community around me. In 2010, I was selected by the university to be a Graduate Teaching Host (GTA) facilitator for the GTA teaching seminar organized by the Center for Enhancement of Teaching & Learning. This seminar was targeted at incoming freshmen to the University, coaching and equipping them with tips to succeed in the University.
Later on that year, I nominated myself for Chemistry Graduate Student Association (CGSA) Representative. I was voted in by my fellow graduate students and I represented the department at university meetings where I presented problems that chemistry graduate students were facing. In this role as CGSA representative, I became the head of the speaker committee and won a grant to host the 6th Annual Departmental Speaker Symposium in February 2011.
Outside of school, I became a volunteer tutor in the Whiz kids program that partnered with a local church I was attending and other non-profit organizations in the area. William H. Taft STEM elementary school at Mount Auburn was slated to be shut down by the Board of Education because of its failing enrollment and retention standards. The program involved tutoring a 2nd grader for an hour and a half every week in reading and in math. This singular act from volunteers every week improved the performance of the students and enabled Taft elementary school to remain open, educating the kids in the Mount Auburn, Corryville and Clifton-University-Fairview Heights area.
After graduation, I moved to the Houston area in 2012 and continued to serve others. I was a director for two years at the American Chemical Society (ACS) in the Greater Houston Area. I have been part of Education Rainbow Challenge (ERC) since 2013 and I am currently a Board member. ERC is a program designed to promote math and science to third, fourth and fifth graders in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Houston, Texas. We usually have a turnout of 450 to 500 students every year! In November 2016, I took over the science experiment section for the ERC conference.
I am also a science volunteer with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), West Harris County which collaborates with the American Chemical Society for their annual Expand Your Horizon (EYH) conference. The conference motivates young girls in six to eight grade to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
ABOUT: My name is Dr. Eme Amba Abu. In 2005, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.