About ten years ago, Stephanie Mireku found herself doing what many college students do—holding movie marathons with roommates, organizing events for student clubs, and wondering where all the studying and exams would lead. From expanding her worldview in a study abroad trip to Lisbon, Portugal, to giving back to the community through service-based programs, Mireku never stopped exploring and learning at UMass Dartmouth.
Fast forward to 2020 and Mireku is back on a college campus—this time, at Providence College as assistant director of alumni relations. But, when she looks back, her career path was being paved all along. “Everything I experienced at UMass Dartmouth led me to my career in higher education—a place where I could use my talents, give back, and continue to learn every day,” Mireku said.
As a student admissions ambassador, assistant in the Spotlight program, and a peer tutor, Mireku was no stranger to balancing commitments and responsibilities. Those experiences as a student positioned her well for what was to come—earning an MBA at Clark University while employed there in events management and student affairs, then making the move to Providence College in spring 2020. She continues to volunteer in her hometown of Worcester at the Worcester Arts Council and the Worcester Cultural Plan Advisory Committee, to name a few.
“I learned to be adaptable, to think quickly and strategically, and to communicate effectively,” she said. “Those qualities helped me to contribute right away to my team, particularly as a new employee.”
Mireku credits her professors and their eye-opening courses with providing the inspiration to be a life-long learner who understands one’s community. “That spirit of learning and having an open mind and heart have guided me in life.”
As a part of the Inside-Out program, where students take classes with prisoners inside a local prison, Mireku saw examples of people who experienced challenges, but believed in their individual abilities to overcome them. “They taught me the incredible value of each person’s story and the power of people who refuse to let difficult circumstances define them.”
Giving back to UMass Dartmouth
Through her experiences as a student, and today as a higher education professional, Mireku is familiar with the challenges people face. She has also witnessed the resiliency of people during times of struggle. During a time of uncertainty, one’s community provides a source of strength and comfort. Mireku found that at UMass Dartmouth, and she hopes other students will be able to experience that same sense of community here, especially when it is most needed today.
“I always felt supported and embraced by the people around me at UMassD,” she said. “The skills I began building here and the community I am a part of have led me to where I am today.”
Supporting students so they can access that community is needed today more than ever for students. “Many students are having to make some incredibly difficult choices and sacrifices just to continue their educations. I want to be able to give them hope, to show them that their education and contributions to society are worth the investment. I hope to be able to influence the next generation of UMassD alumni.”