“I’m very results-oriented and focused,” says Nana Apraku, a junior at Stern studying international business and management with a minor in social entrepreneurship.
And if you’d asked her about her about her dream career a year ago, she would’ve had a ready answer: a goal to build a business in Ghana, where her family is from, in an effort to grow local economies and help wealth generated in Africa stay there. But now there are days when she finds herself looking at law school applications, or wondering whether she should run for office some day.
Why the sudden interest in politics? It started when Nana earned a scholarship that allowed her to study away at NYU Florence, where she got a job helping out with events for the La Pietra Dialogues. “Race was something I’d been battling, because I grew up in the Bronx, and was used to predominantly spaces of color. Manhattan is very different demographically, and sometimes I’m the only female of color in the room. I didn’t know how to have productive conversations about it—sometimes I wondered if I should even be bringing it up,” Nana reflects. “But La Pietra Dialogues encourages those types of conversations, and hearing about the different ways civilizations come together to formulate race really opened my eyes. I wanted to have a voice.”
Nana was so inspired that she and another student ended up organizing their own conference, called Black Femininity. Back in New York, she’s active within Stern’s Supporting Excellence and Advocating Diversity club, and also sits on the student committee for the 1831 Fund (from which she received a scholarship when she was a sophomore). To unwind, she plays volleyball and watches Korean dramas.
As for the next steps? “I’m not sure I’ve decided yet,” Nana says. “But I’m expanding my mind, and I know that I want to be a person who positively impacts the world.”