Freetown, Sierra Leone
Remember the name: Ngozi Cole. In another decade, you might be hearing a lot about her, both nationally and internationally.
A sophomore at The College of Wooster and a native of Sierra Leone, Cole has a noteworthy set of leadership skills, as demonstrated by two recent honors: a Youth Excellence Award (YEA) from her native country, which recognizes young people who succeed in the face of extreme challenges, and a MILEAD Fellowship (Moremi Initiative's Leadership Development), which identifies young African women with "potential and passion for transformational leadership roles."
The two awards are highly selective, but the fact that Cole was considered for both came as no surprise to Nicola Kille, assistant director for global engagement and coordinator of Wooster's Ambassador's Program. "I believe that Ngozi has the potential to make a positive change throughout the world," said Kille. "She has charmed every audience with her wonderful smile and the attentive way that she listens and responds. I look forward to seeing what she does with her passion, skill, and expertise once she graduates from Wooster."
Cole came to Wooster in the fall of 2011 after attending the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. While there, she met Wooster alumnus Chemili Kipkorir, a counselor at the school who encouraged her to consider attending the College.
"I was very intrigued by Wooster's emphasis on independent learning, and the fact that you could specialize in one discipline but also take courses in others," says Cole, who serves as a tour guide for the Office of Admissions and is active with the African Students' Union. "I also liked the sense of community on campus. Wooster had everything I wanted."
Cole is majoring in history with a minor in political science. She also has been involved Wooster's Ambassadors program, a yearlong appointment through which she serves as a representative of her native country and shares her impressions of the political framework, economic structure, educational system, and faith traditions, as well as art, entertainment, music, food and just about anything else that might be of interest.
After graduation, Cole might apply to law school and possibly pursue human rights litigation. She is also considering a working for an international organization, such as the United Nations. In the meantime, she will continue to hone her leadership skills through a variety of experiences, both on and off campus.
"Wooster is very good about encouraging students to be creative," says Cole. "It's a place where you can develop your own ideas and your own direction."