Emma Opoku, a biological sciences major from Fenton, Missouri, received The University of Tulsa’s 2023 Marcy Lawless Service Award during Saturday’s commencement ceremony. This honor is given each year to a graduating senior who exemplifies a generous spirit, creativity, vision and pursuit of excellence in their service to others on campus and in the Tulsa community.
Opoku plans to apply to medical school this fall. As a peer health educator with Take Control Initiative, she advocates for women’s health initiatives and equal access to health care. She hopes to work on improved community health outcomes as a primary care physician.
In addition to rigorous academic study and her work as an undergraduate research assistant in TU’s Perinatal Psychobiology Lab, she remains committed to helping others. “Pursuing a career in the medical field at times feels daunting, but community service is a way for me to recenter and remind myself how rewarding it is to serve others,” she said.
Opoku’s firsthand experiences influence the way she strives to serve others. “Whether tutoring elementary students or creating safe spaces for college students, I want to help others in a way that I needed when I was in those phases of life,” she said.
Following her return to classes after the pandemic, Opoku identified a need for women of color to connect. She chartered the Women of Color Collective, a student organization that forms bonds through social and networking events. The organization makes it easier for students of color to feel connected when they arrive on campus and throughout their time at TU. “I think of the community service I am involved in today as service that would have benefitted my younger self,” she said.
If you are a student interested in serving the campus and community, please visit TU’s Office of Civic Engagement.