Adriana is a 2nd year and first - generation university student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, where she is pursuing a Doctor of Optometry degree. A 2020 Millennium Fellow, Adriana’s project advances Sustainable Development Goal 3 and was inspired by her little brother who suffers from corneal abrasion and a myopic condition.
How did you hear about the Millennium Fellowship?
I approached a student who was a past fellow and a member of a campus student association I am also involved in, ENACTUS, to inquire about how he was able to combine his entrepreneurial work and project with his student responsibilities simultaneously. It was during my conversation with him that he divulged he was being mentored and trained by the Millennium Fellowship.
The Millennium Fellowship is presented by United Nations Academic Impact and the Millennium Campus Network (MCN) for undergraduate students. He encouraged me to apply for the fellowship because it was a world-class training, connections, and recognition platform. I did a lot of research on the Fellowship opportunity and discovered that it was a development program to take my social impact to the next
level. I then sent a request to the Millennium Fellowship to be included in their mailing list in order to get a notification when applications opened for the Fellowship opportunity.
What was the application process like?
During my time, the Millennium Fellowship Application was in 3 rounds.
Round one takes 15-20 minutes to complete. After completing the first round, an email will be sent indicating your status of the application after a couple of days.
Qualified applicants receive login information (username & password) to login to their account online, after which the 2nd round can commence.
After the 2nd stage applicants will be shortlisted one more time, and then make it to the final stage.
These rounds require you to respond to essays, provide personal details, submit
recommendation letters, and most importantly, demonstrate how your intended project
advances 1 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Did you have to interview for the Fellowship?
There were over 10,000 applicants worldwide, as such, interviews were not conducted for all students thus, selection was done during the application process.
What inspired your project?
As an aspiring world-wide Optometrist, I realized a lot of students, especially those in the deprived communities are not provided with a balanced meal and this can result in vision loss with or without ametropic conditions. A new case reports vitamin and mineral deficiencies to accelerate vision loss caused by glaucoma, cataract, and macular degeneration. Nutritional Optic Neuropathy can lead to permanent optic nerve damage and blindness if left untreated. 'Blindness is an uncommon but serious complication of poor nutrition.' I got my inspiration from my kid brother who is myope, and his plight made me better understand the pain of having an eye defect. From countless visits and different medications, my brother’s condition only worsened by the day. His condition motivated me to study Optometry so I can provide quality care for him as well as for others in a similar predicament. My project, Mega Vision Care hopes to provide extensive vision care for all individuals especially those in deprived societies since it appears they are not well informed about the human eye and its necessary care.
What steps have you taken so far to advance your project?
I have since focused on the use of hydroponics and the Kratky system near a less privileged school by my university so the students can use the vegetables to complement their meals for a balanced diet. Also, I seek to commercialize the lettuce produced at affordable prices and use the profit made to reinvest into the project. I am as well working on a grant to help sponsor this life- changing project because these children are our future leaders and their eyesight cannot be played with. Since most of these students from the deprived areas suffer from malnutrition, complementing their meals with the necessary nutrient for proper eyesight will make a lot of
difference. Recently, a Student Club partnered with members of my project, where their aim is to educate students on the need to take a balanced meal and the effects of malnutrition on the eye, which is a very delicate organ of the body.
How has the fellowship helped you advance your project?
The virtual meetings and seminars organized have provided me with soft skills, resources, and information to advance my project. Additionally, I have been educated more on factors to bear in mind when it comes to Sustainable Development Goal 3. I have also been able to interact and permanently network with facilitated peers and young leaders worldwide to brainstorm solutions and shared best practices.
Has the Fellowship influenced you in any way?
It has! I’ve realized I do not need to have everything before I'm able to achieve my goals. Now, I’ve realized that if I take the initiative with the little I have, I can achieve anything I set my mind on and everything would eventually come together perfectly as time goes on. On the technical aspect, my knowledge and reflections to explore values on key themes like partnerships versus paternalism and moral absolute versus relativism have widened. From performance management to writing grants, I have developed the professional skills to take my project to the next level. I have as well formed meaningful connections with professionals working in the field of speed mentorships like social identities in Global development and donor perspective.
Why should an undergraduate student consider applying for the Millennium Fellowship?
First of all, the Millennium Fellowship is a development program to take your social impact to the next level.
Secondly, it provides students with world-class training, recognition, and connections all over the world.
Lastly, the Millennium Fellowship is an avenue to bring your idea(s) to fruition.
I will admonish every student to utilize this opportunity because it is a way of investing in yourself to be outstanding among your peers.
The program will take place on selected campuses worldwide from August 2021 to December 2021. The Application for the Class of 2021 is now open for undergraduate students around the world. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Final Deadline to apply is April 16, 2021. Apply here.