For many young Africans, the dream of acquiring postgraduate degrees cannot be attained in their home countries due to a lack of resources and expertise in their fields. They, therefore, have to travel thousands of kilometers to other countries to achieve their objectives. But this experience is often fraught with several changes from a new language and culture to challenges with having the required previous knowledge. In 2011, Dr. Tareque Odoom-Wubah embarked on such a journey to China for his dream of becoming an accomplished Professor in his field.
The passion for science was ignited in Tareque when he was 8 to 10 years. He was fascinated by the idea of science and how to apply it to change the world just as his role models Isaac Allotey, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein had done before him. In fact, Dr. Odoom-Wubah says if he hadn’t become a chemical engineer, he would have pursued a career in medicine. But when he arrived at Xiamen University in China, his previous college education in Ghana did not prepare him for the research and experimental rigor required to pursue a Masters in Chemical Engineering. “This was really baptism by fire in every essence of the word”, says Tareque. Challenges such as learning how to use equipment that he hadn’t seen before and techniques for publishing scientific articles that he had never been taught. This was daunting at first. But he focused on his dreams and how his research will help in curtailing environmental and economic problems in Africa. His research is on converting bio-waste to catalyst and energy through fuel cells and batteries and focuses on clean and green energy generation that has the potential to mitigate global warming and climate change.
With dedication and persistence, Dr. Odoom-Wubah powered through the next eight years and obtained a Masters in Engineering, a Ph.D. and post-doctoral research experience. During this period, he won every award there was to be won worth over $250,000 in total. Tareque has also authored and co-authored over forty articles in prominent scientific journals and has presented his research at conferences in Spain, the USA, and the UK. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology. A typical day at the office involves teaching engineering design, supervising lab work, assigning and marking quizzes, assignments.
For Dr. Odoom-Wubah, it was an incredible opportunity to study in China at this point in history. China is second only to the USA in terms of research output according to the Nature Index of 2019. He benefitted from modern tools in hi-tech laboratories and excellent faculty which are the prerequisites for excellent research output. He will strongly recommend China as a destination for practical scientific education as the opportunities are limitless.