November 3, 2023
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
Teressa Akuoko Earns College of Science and Mathematics Excellence Award at VSU
|Teressa Konyo Akuoko of Valdosta, Georgia, is the recipient of the Fall 2023 President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the College of Science and Mathematics at Valdosta State University. She will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Minor in Chemistry, and an Honors College Certificate during VSU’s 236th Commencement at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9.|
VALDOSTA — Teressa Konyo Akuoko of Valdosta, Georgia, is the recipient of the Fall 2023 President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the College of Science and Mathematics at Valdosta State University.
The President’s Award for Academic Excellence is presented to a high-performing graduating student in each of VSU’s six colleges — Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of the Arts, James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Mathematics.
Akuoko will be recognized during VSU’s 236th Commencement at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, on the Main Campus Front Lawn. She will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Minor in Chemistry, and an Honors College Certificate.
“My experience at VSU has been much like a typical teenage coming-of-age story,” she shared. “The pitfalls, in their obstinate obstruction, helped me grow and learn both as a student and a person. I became more knowledgeable, more resilient, and more passionate with the help of my professors and peers. My college career helped set the basis for the rest of my life, so I am proud to be able to represent an institution that has nurtured my growth so extensively. It feels bittersweet to be graduating, but I know that I will eventually meet the effulgence of a future yet to come.”
As a student at VSU, Akuoko founded and coordinated the Honors College Affinity Groups. She was an active member of Student Members of the American Chemical Society, where she served as vice president and outreach coordinator, and the Honors Student Association, where she served as outreach coordinator, class representative, and first-year representative.
Akuoko worked in wet lab research on various molecular biology and plant genetics projects. She presented “A Comparative Study of the Arabidopsis thaliana eIF2alpha Kinase, GCN2 Using Protein Sequence Alignment and Homology Modeling” at VSU’s 2022 Undergraduate Research Symposium and “Unraveling the Rapid Signaling of Versatile Plant Stress Hormone, Methyl Jasmonate (MeJA)” at the 2022 Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference. She earned a Blazer Summer Research Institute grant to study “The Effects of Methyl Jasmonate (MeJA) on GCN2 Signaling in Arabidopsis Thaliana.”
Outside the classroom and research lab, Akuoko volunteered with South Georgia Medical Center’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit and served the less fortunate through Living Bridges Ministry and Second Harvest Food Bank. She shared her love of science with area elementary school classes, organized Christmas card-making events for area nursing homes, and continued a family legacy of providing hygiene products, school supplies, and more to various area nonprofits through Foresters Financial.
Akuoko’s commitment to academic, leadership, research, and service excellence resulted in her earning repeated Dean’s List recognitions, VSU’s Bartram Award for Intellectual Exploration, as well as the Odum Scholarship, David and Cecelia Ratcliffe Scholarship, Martha H. Barnes Scholarship, VSU Foundation Scholarship, Colquitt EMC Scholarship, Delta Sigma Theta Valdosta Alumnae Chapter Scholarship, ERCO Worldwide Scholarship, Nutrien Scholarship, Valdosta Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Scholarship, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Scholarship. She was a Zell Miller Scholar and Honors Scholar.
“Immediately after graduation, I will study for the Medical College Admission Test for six months until I apply for medical school in the summer of next year,” she said. “I will apply for combined Doctor of Medicine-Doctor of Philosophy (MD-PhD) programs. I plan to become a medical practitioner in the field of dermatology, nephrology, or gynecology, and I hope to pursue medical research. My ultimate pursuit is to establish or consistently participate in a non-profit organization purposed for disseminating medical aid and knowledge to underserved communities.”
Her supportive family includes mother Janet Akuoko, father Dr. Kenneth Akuoko, brother Daniel Akuoko, and sister Joanne Akuoko. Her thanks also go to her lab mentor, Dr. Ansul Lokdarshi.On the Web: