Methodist University is dedicated to producing graduates who are “committed to making positive contributions to a global society.” It’s not just part of the University’s Vision Statement – it’s a reality. Senior Mary Akoko is a recent example of selfless service as evident by the work to assist her home country of Uganda.
Methodist University is dedicated to producing graduates who are “committed to making positive contributions to a global society.” It’s not just part of the University’s Vision Statement – it’s a reality.
Senior Mary Akoko is a recent example of selfless service as evident by the work to assist her home country of Uganda.
In early 2022, the MU international student worked with MU’s Global Education Office to apply for the Projects for Peace grant, an initiative providing funding to student-led projects that provide responses to some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Soon after, Akoko was named a winner of a $10,000 grant, funding a computer literacy project she had been planning for years. Through the grant, Akoko went onto purchase 10 new computers and a video projector for a high school in Northern Uganda.
“I wanted to improve computer literacy in my home country. Education in Northern Uganda is so far behind other parts of the country,” said Akoko. “This is a small way to improve the quality of learning by giving them more access to technology.”
The high school currently teaches 40 students aged 12 to 18 years old. Prior to the grant, the school owned just 10 computers, forcing the school the place four students around each computer. After receiving the new technology, only two students are assigned to each computer — a big improvement that’s already yielded positive results.
“I’m actually in touch with the teacher and she’s kept me posted on how big of a help this project has been for them,” Akoko said. “They’re using all of the equipment and they’re so grateful. I also put them in touch with the CEO of a tech company in Uganda who can help them with repairs and trainings, if needed.”
The project hits close to home in more ways than one. Akoko spent the first 17 years of her life in Uganda before moving to India to earn her high school diploma – an opportunity that would not be possible without a scholarship through the United World College, a two-year educational program geared towards teenage international students.
“The people who invested into United World College invested into students like me,” she said. “I’m simply hoping that I can continue to pass it forward by helping others. I believe in teamwork and the fact that it takes a village to raise a child. We have to have an attitude of saying, ‘No one else is going to make a difference if I don’t.’ We have to take action.”
Akoko is set to graduate from Methodist University with her bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics and Business Administration and a minor in International Business. She already has a job lined up at an investment bank in Utah post-graduation, but she hopes to one day make it back to Uganda to continue helping her country.
“My time at Methodist University has prepared me for life after graduation,” she said. “It’s helped me to think about solutions to problems. If you want to go and accomplish something, this place has the resources to drive you towards that. I have appreciated my time here.”