Student Spotlight: Chemistry Major Brandford Adobaw
Brandford Adobaw, like many of his fellow students, came to Georgia State and the Honors College with a unique story under his belt. In 2009, only two years before graduating high school, Brandford moved from Ghana to the United States, launching immediately into his junior year at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Ga. — an experience much different from anything he had ever known. Brandford said, “It’s just completely different here [in Georgia]. The transition was hard. I was so different from everyone else and was in a hurry to get out of there and graduate.”
Brandford’s fondest memory from high school was winning the mayor’s award in education after just a year and half of living in the United States. “It was just awesome because I finally had something to smile about,” Brandford stated, “Honestly, I didn’t really get to feel like I belonged in this country at all until I got to Georgia State and joined the Professional Careers in Science Freshman Learning Community. It was the first time where I finally felt the comfort of being in a community.”
For Brandford, getting acclimated to Georgia State meant taking advantage of several different opportunities, especially through the Honors College. Brandford, a chemistry major, works in a lab on campus with faculty members and graduate students. “I have graduate students who are my mentors and they teach me a lot of things that I wouldn’t get just from my classes. I have had the chance to give presentations at regional conferences and I am getting ready to go to my first national conference next month to present my research. I like having a platform to practice all that I learn in class. It’s exciting.”
Brandford spent this past summer at the University of Minnesota, where he participated in the National Institutes of Health-funded Heart, Lung and Blood program as part of the 2013 Life Science Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Brandford worked under a post-doctoral mentor who helped him expand his knowledge of cell biology. This experience, among his other research and conference experiences, has helped solidify Brandford’s educational aims.
“My senior directed research will be centered on organic synthesis. If I enjoy it, then I will go to graduate school for Medicinal Chemistry. I am also thinking of taking the MCAT next year, to then go ahead to obtain a combined MD/PhD. It’s a lot, but I know that the learning I’m doing in the lab and in my classes will give me the foundation I need to achieve it.”
Brandford has also presented at several research conferences including two Herty Medalist Undergraduate Research Symposiums and a Regional LSAMP conference. The Honors College also recently helped fund Brandford to send him to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Nashville, Tenn.
Apart from his research and schoolwork, Branford enjoys soccer, basketball, canoeing, swimming, and tutoring for Georgia Sate’s Chemistry Club. He hopes to work as a teaching assistant for a chemistry class next semester.