A cross-section of students at the orientation
The KNUST Engineering Education Project (KEEP) organised an orientation for Cohort 5 postgraduate students at the Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre (RWESCK) auditorium, Kumasi on February 1st 2024. This is part of its commitment to bringing them to speed with the modalities of the project and advancing engineering education, research, and innovations to advance industry and society.
Mr. Kwadwo Nyantakyi Marfo, the Project Manager, warmly welcomed the cohort 5 students, urging them to prioritise their studies and acquire essential soft skills. He emphasised that irrespective of whether one had a scholarship or not, they are all students under the project.
Prof. Jerry John Kponyo, the Project Lead at KEEP, provided an overview of KEEP, highlighting its alignment with the University's vision and mission of delivering excellent education within the broader institutional framework.
‘He stated, ' We don't operate in isolation; instead, we function within the university's umbrella, and research is pivotal in our mission to drive industry and community transformation.”
Additionally, he outlined KEEP's expectations for students, particularly their academic pursuits. From the beginning of their studies, students are guided into various career paths to sharpen their skills and deepen their understanding of their courses.
Prof. Kponyo underlined the significance of choosing research topics that tackle industry and national challenges, potentially attracting grants from various organisations. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of acquiring soft skills throughout the program, noting their potential to open doors beyond academic qualifications.
Dr. David Ato Quansah, the Internship Coordinator, delivered a presentation on student internships. He encouraged students to approach internships with seriousness and seize every opportunity they are presented with to embark on one. Emphasising the importance of bridging the gap between industry and academia, he stressed the significance of embracing internships for career development and not for academic purposes only.
‘You must recognise and appreciate the need for internships and not overlook them. Participating in internships enhances your postgraduate studies and is crucial in advancing your career,” he added.
Speaking to the students about their academic journey, Dr. Henry Nunoo-Mensah, the MSc Coordinator for KEEP, took the participants through various aspects of their programmes, including research focus, progression and graduation requirements, and the academic and support services available. He highlighted what is expected of students in their postgraduate studies.
In addition, Mr. John Makafui Bedzra, the Innovation Manager at the KNUST College of Engineering Innovation Centre, addressed the students on innovation and technology. He elaborated on the centre's activities, including details on short courses and advancements in innovation and technology. Mr. Bedzra also showcased the centre's contributions, particularly in developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for precision agriculture. He encouraged everyone to join and explore opportunities to acquire coding, blockchain, and entrepreneurship skills.
Mr. Abraham Yenu Lambon, the Finance Officer for the project, provided valuable insights about the scholarships and addressed various concerns of the students about their research and accommodation support, stipend, and fees.
Other guest speakers were the College Librarian, Mr Bortei, and the College Counsellor, Dr. (Mrs.) Elizabeth A. Fordjour. The Librarian explained the functionality of the library system and how students can effectively utilise it for their academics. Similarly, the Counsellor shed light on the resources and support services offered to students at the college and university levels by the counselling unit.
The Deputy Project Lead, Dr. Kwadwo Mensah Darkwa, addressed students on the various projects undertaken at KEEP and encouraged them to participate.
In his closing remarks, Dr Kwadwo Mensah-Darkwa, Deputy Project Lead, urged students to seize the opportunities provided by KEEP and aim for excellence in their academic pursuits. He emphasised that, as an Africa Center of Excellence (ACE) Impact project, maintaining a standard of excellence should be the primary focus.