Graduate Ready

Akua Biaa Adu '20

Akua Biaa Adu `20 was surprised when an Illinois College staff member showed up to sit with her at the hospital after she fell ill and again when a professor invited her to Christmas Eve at her home.


Akua said that these simple gestures made her feel an immediate sense of family after leaving her home country of Ghana to attend IC. The computer science and biology major made connections with faculty members throughout campus. From the choir director to Japanese studies faculty to career services staff, Akua said that being connected to the IC community has opened the door to many opportunities. 

“I think the fact that IC is small and so community-oriented makes it feel like the opportunities just come to you. Research experience, travel and internships are really sought by everyone working at the College and passed along to students. The IC staff and faculty communicate about internships, jobs and other learning experiences because they care about you as a person. There are so many learning opportunities that you can choose what you want to do. As a student you can get involved with what interests you. I am planning to study abroad in Japan next semester and I know it wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t at IC.”

During her time at IC, Akua conducted inorganic chemistry research with Associate Professor Jocelyn Lanorio, and studied abroad and completed an internship in Japan through the LIASE program. She received funding from generous donors to support her through each experience. She also got involved on campus in Computer Science Club, Koine International Club, Japanese Club and choir.
Akua graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and is now a software engineer at State Farm Corporate Headquarters in Bloomington. She learned a lot from her major that prepared her to Graduate READY — especially thanks to her faculty mentors.

“They cared for my well-being as an individual first, and as their student second, and that was part of what motivated me to work hard. You really don't want to let down someone who cares and believes in you and your capabilities.”