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What do you do after being named Valedictorian?

Question: What do these people have in common?

Paul Newman

Artist Jim Dine

NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer

Fox News’ Roger Ailes

Paul Newman

Arsenio Hall

Fatou Kineh Ndow

Answer: they are either alumni of Ohio University, …  or will soon be.

Fatou Kineh shared with us a copy of this email she received from Ohio University:

Dear Fatou,

On behalf of the Department of Mathematics, it is my pleasure to inform you that we have recommended your admission to our Masters of Science program (MS3101) for fall 2016.  We believe you will make an important contribution to our graduate program, and we hope you will find it a challenging and enriching experience. You will receive a separate letter of admission from the Graduate College confirming your admission and notifying you of any documents needed to complete your official admission.

It is my pleasure to offer you a teaching assistantship for the 2016-2017 academic year. A Teaching Assistantship includes a full tuition scholarship (waiver of the Instructional Fee and Non-resident Surcharge) and a stipend of at least $[x,000] per academic year. (For other fees and estimated expenses, see https://www.ohio.edu/graduate/tuition.cfm .) In return, the teaching assistant works 15 hours per week supporting the department's teaching mission. They may teach a lower-level course as primary instructor, run recitations to support a large lecture, or some similar duties.  This assistantship is renewable annually based on your satisfactory performance of its duties and progress in our program.  Teaching Assistants receive training including intensive orientation and training in the week before classes begin and a 2 credit course MATH 5120 College Mathematics Teaching for New Teaching Assistants, which meets during the Fall semester….

You have until April 15, 2016 to accept or decline this offer of financial support. However, as a courtesy to other students who are seeking financial support, we ask that you inform us as soon as you have made your decision.

If you have any questions, please contact me ….

Martin J. Mohlenkamp
Graduate Chair

We could not be prouder of Fatou Kineh and we feel privileged to have been able to play a supporting role in her inspiring journey. We join her in giving our thanks to GambiaRising's donors for helping make this possible. It costs on average $1,500 per year to support a student at the University of The Gambia. That's both an incredible bargain, and also 10 times the cost of supporting a girl in senior secondary school  So we could only do this because the number of donors increases and you stay with us year after year.

Is she one of a kind? Well, she is certainly remarkable. But the important thing is to keep providing the opportunity to other girls like her so they can reach their own potential, whatever that might be.  

Thank you so much for being part of this important effort.  And please do spread the word.

Well done, Fatou Kineh!

Mike McConnell
Managing Trustee

1500 Park Ave Apt PH503
Emeryville, CA  94608

Here's the story we wrote about Fatou Kineh's gradution last month, with the addition of one of several articles about her in the Gambian press (she was also interviewed on the local television news):

Fatou Kineh Ndow: A Star is Born

February 15, 2016

Fatou Kineh Ndow was definitely among the best of the best. Her mother and father are both wheelchair bound, but managed to pay her schools fees through 12th grade from their meager income from selling cell phone credit on the street at Westfield Junction. But when Fatou Kineh graduated among the top of her class from senior secondary school, and was admitted to the University, they could afford no more. So Fatou Kineh started knocking on doors looking for support. One of those doors was of the Catholic Education Secretariat, a few steps from where her parents sold phone credit.

Sister Amala, whose desk is at the top of the stairs to the Secretariat's office near Westfield, met with FAtou Kineh when she came cold calling. Sister Amala knew GambiaRising well, as she was then keeping records and helping us disburse funds to students in the neighborhood, several of whom were studying at the university. 

So Fatou Kineh had come to the right place. Sister Amala immediately wrote an appeal to us, and after meeting with her and her parents, we agreed to support her to attend the University.

Fast forward to last Friday, when after four years studying Mathematics at UTG with support pooled from a variety of GambiaRising donors over those years, Fatou Kineh graduated with a degree in Mathematics. 

Summa cum laude

And she was also class Valedictorian.

Peace Corps Volunteer Cara Sandquist attended the graduation ceremony with her camera, and Fatou Kineh made a short video to greet all those whose donations had enabled her to have this achievement:  It's short, and it will make your day: https://youtu.be/VQLHTUi35FM.

I'll bet we have not hear the last of this remarkable young woman.

Fatou Kineh's sister, mother, and Father Moses

Coverage in the Gambian press

Fatou Kineh was also featured in local television coverage on GRTS.