|Grace receiving her award in Boston|
Thursday, 27 April 2017
I would like to congratulate Dr. Grace Ofori-Sampong, who is one of the Five Women Recipients of the 2017 Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)-Elsevier Foundation Awards. These awards are for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World, for outstanding research in Engineering, Innovation and Technology and for serving as inspiring role models for future generations of women science leaders.
Although I have never met Grace, she has been a respected and diligent reviewer for Minerals Engineering for the past seven years. Grace is the winner for Sub-Saharan Africa for her work on mycohydrometallurgy (fungi-mediated gold extraction), recovery of precious metals, acid mine drainage mapping, safe practices in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and her strong involvement in making a positive impact in the issues of women in science and engineering. The award recipients took part in the 2017 American Association for the Advancement in Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where they received the awards on the 18th of February, 2017.
Dr. Grace Ofori-Sarpong is an Associate Professor of Metallurgical (Minerals) Engineering at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Ghana. She is the first female to rise through the academic ranks to the position of Associate Professor in the field of Mining/Metallurgical/Materials Engineering in Ghana.
Recounting her story on the journey that landed her to this height, Grace said, “the journey has not been without huge obstacles including traditional definitions of who a woman should be, societal demands on what a woman should do and family requirements of what a woman should have". Born into a large family with many people not having formal education or ending at pre-university level, it was difficult to convince anybody that a woman could live above the traditional limitations and reach out to unlimited heights.
Grace got her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana and her PhD from the Pennsylvania State University in the USA. Her research interests include mycohydrometallugy, environmental biotechnology, recovery of precious minerals, microwave processing of ores, water quality monitoring and small-scale gold mining/processing. She has over forty-five technical papers to her credit and several unpublished reports.
She has held several positions in her university and is currently the Head of the Petroleum Engineering Department and the Vice Dean of the Planning and Quality Assurance Unit. She has also served as a visiting professor in other universities in Ghana and Africa.
Grace is one of the few women who are making an impact in this predominantly male oriented minerals and mining engineering field in Ghana and also in the West-African sub-region. By dint of hard work and creativity, she has utilised fungi in the extraction of gold (mycohydrometallurgy) and, for the first time, the use of fungi in the degradation of non-organic sulphide minerals. She has been a role-model at several science and mathematics clinics for young females and has boosted girl-child education and interest in science and engineering. To get an appropriate platform for her passionate desires, Grace has recently founded an association known as Ladies in Mining and Allied Professions in Ghana, of which she is the president.
Well done Grace!