Sophia is a fifteen year old pupil of Osaebo Junior High School in Nsawam. She is the head girls’ prefect and also doubles as the lead explorer of the Exploratory club in the school. Sophia is the ‘darling’ of her year group (I am told) due to her unbeatable academic records and her excellent leadership qualities. She believes that all girls can live up to their full potential provided they remain focused.
How did you find out about The Exploratory?
I got to know about The Exploratory through Mr. Adokwei who also happens to be our club teacher. After briefing us on the purpose and aim of the club, I was eager to join because it matched up to my interest. I felt I could gain a lot from joining this science club.
What was the selection criteria for club members?
Actually, Mr. Adokwei challenged us to find the meaning of the word ‘tangram’. However it happened that very few of us did as our teacher requested, hence the membership was slashed down to fifteen (15).
How did you become the club president and how has the experience been so far?
I was nominated by some of my colleagues but was also subjected to an election. One of the girls contested me but in the end I won (smiles). So far so good, it has been a wonderful experience.
How do you find the club sessions?
I think our club sessions have been very educative and insightful. I have learnt a lot through the experiments and demonstrations.
Many say science as a course is challenging to most young people like you. Do you agree?
Like you said, I didn’t like science initially because I found it to be very difficult and I know most of my mates also had the same challenge. However, with time I was made to believe that I could find science as a subject more interesting if I begin to view it as an ‘everyday thing’. After changing my mindset about science, I have realized that science is a lot more interesting than I thought. I see science in almost everything I do!
Through the Exploratory I have been able to change my mindset about science
Tell me a little about your role model
The name of my role model is Madam Jemima, she happens to be one of my teachers here at Osaebo JHS. She is my role model because I like the way she relates with her students and how she attaches great importance to her work. I am particularly motivated by her personal story about her childhood and how she was able to achieve her dreams through hard work and determination. Madam Jemima doesn’t encourage laziness and that is one thing I like about her.
In what ways have you also motivated other students to develop interest in science?
Normally most of the students who are not members of the Exploratory but are fascinated by our experiments (especially my good friend Deborah) come to me and I am always glad to share what I have learnt with them.
If you had the opportunity to pursue a career in science what career will that be?
I will love to do nursing.
Do you think boys are better at science than girls?
(Laughs) No! On the average we are all equal with respect to performance or scores in science though a boy tops the class all the time. I always take the second position.
How many experiments have you taken part in since this term’s club sessions began?
I think three (3) in all, the string telephone, the amplifier and the candle-oxygen experiment. I loved the string telephone.
Do you think The Exploratory has been helpful in breaking the myth surrounding science?
Of course! Through the Exploratory I have been able to change my mindset about science. I have also challenged myself to believe that as a girl I can become whoever I want to become only if I remain focused and take my books seriously.
NB: The interview has been slightly edited for clarity.