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SHADRACK FRIMPONG
STUDENT

AGE: 21
ETHNICITY: African
EDUCATION: University of Pennsylvania, Molecular Biology
WORK: Student

Described by Penn Medicine’s Neurologist, Dr. Roy Hamilton as a “…rare student he has ever seen during his 12 years at the University of Pennsylvania”, Shadrack wouldn’t let anything come between him and his dreams in spite of his humble background as a former street kid and son of peasant farmers in rural Ghana.

Shadrack is the president and founder of Students for A Healthy Africa, one of the continent’s largest student-health movements, which has so far provided free health insurance for HIV/AIDS orphans in Ghana and constructed a health clinic and potable water well in two communities in rural Nigeria. A firm believer in the immense potential of women in Africa’s development, he also co-founded the African Research Academies for Women, which aim to bridge the wide gap between male and female scientists on the continent through annual summer research institutes for college women in Ghana and Nigeria. As a way of giving back, he also started a club at his high school that has assisted about 18 needy but brilliant students gain acceptances at elite U.S universities on full scholarships. These initiatives have merited numerous awards and recognition, including a prize from the United Nations and multiple invitations to meet former President Bill Clinton and other world leaders at the annual Clinton Global Initiative. In August 2013, he was awarded the Discovering Youth Leadership Fellowship from the Commonwealth Secretariat, for his excellent work on youth involvement in improving Africa’s healthcare.

With faith in God, Shadrack also aspires to become one of Africa’s finest physician-scientists. As a University Scholar at Penn, he researches HIV latency and has worked with world-renowned scientists in Switzerland to discover the kinetics of HIV expression. In recognition of his research contributions, he has been nominated for, and awarded multiple research fellowships including those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC). In summer 2013, he was 1 of just 25 students worldwide out of about 1500 applicants, to be awarded an all-expense paid fellowship to conduct scientific research at the internationally renowned École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Shadrack is the first student from the University of Pennsylvania to be selected for this prestigious fellowship since the program’s inception. Passionate about finding a cure to HIV, he is currently collaborating with other laboratories in Belgium and the United Kingdom to further establish and validate a new method for use worldwide in effectively quantifying the size of the HIV reservoir in patients.

Shadrack is a friend, a listener at heart who loves to sing and is a member of a Ghanaian Church Choir in West Philadelphia and the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir. He also assists students as a Teaching Assistant of the Pipeline Program at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and advises prospective and accepted students as a member of the university’s College Cognoscenti.

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