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Sally Amkoa

University of Cincinnati , Kenya, Class of (2010)


BA Economics, MS Business Analytics

Current Occupation

I’m currently a fulltime graduate student. I also work part time as an Assistant Resident Coordinator in a residence hall that houses 800 undergraduate students. I manage the operations of the residence hall security desk through the selection, supervision, training and evaluation of a team of 21 front desk staff. Utilize strong judgment and problem solving skills to handle emergencies, mediate conflict and enhance student safety. I also directly supervise 3 resident advisors (RAs) who are each in charge of a floor or about 30 students. I utilize my strong communication and mentoring skills to provide my student staff with the support and encouragement they need to succeed in their college career.


My undergraduate career at the University of Cincinnati (UC) has been the most rewarding experience of my life so far. I joined UC in 2010, with great ambitions to become a great leader. I embarked on a long, transformative journey of defining what leadership meant to me and determining how I would accomplish my goal. I actively pursued many leadership roles in order to learn about leadership through service. In my second year, I was appointed Director of International Affairs in the undergraduate student government. I utilized this platform to implement my proposal to improve the reception and integration of international students at my university. I received immense support from the student government and university administration, which among other things, organized the first International Student Retreat at UC to give international students a chance to build initial friendships and learn about the American culture to enable them to settle in the US more smoothly.

Last summer, I was selected to participate in the Miracle Corners of the World (MCW) International Youth Leadership Retreat, which brings together youth from around the world to prepare personal vision plans, highlighting their communities’ challenges and identifying creative solutions to address them. My vision is a world where gender equality is not viewed as a men-versus-women issue, but as a humanity issue. My solution was to create a scholarship fund for high school boys in Kenya, so as to get an avenue to engage men in my society in the fight for gender equality. My goal is to equip young men with the knowledge necessary to identify and address instances of inequality within their own communities. The scholarship fund, formally known as Jasiri Africa Initiative, is slated to have its first beneficiary in high school by January 2016. (“Jasiri” means “brave” in Swahili). I also learned about the HEFORSHE campaign by UN Women while at the MCW retreat. I have since been a strong advocate of the campaign in my school. I created the bulletin board below to spread awareness about gender equality among students in my university residence hall.


Global engagement has also been a core aspect of my personal and professional development at UC. My first study abroad experience was a three month stay in Costa Rica in 2012 that included an excursion to Panama. Later that year, I won the Connect-123 International Essay competition, which funded a semester-long internship in Cape Town, South Africa. I interned at the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, a non-profit organization that keeps record of all parliamentary proceedings in South Africa to promote transparency in the legislature. My responsibilities involved attending high level government meetings on economic development and international affairs at the South African parliament, and creating comprehensive reports of the meetings for dissemination to the public online. My immensely rewarding experiences abroad inspired me to become an advocate for study abroad at UC. I worked at UC International Programs as a student worker for two years, promoting the numerous study abroad opportunities available to UC students.

I was also keen on maintaining a strong academic record throughout my time at UC. During my freshman year, my microeconomics professor invited me to apply to present a research paper at the annual Global Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. This was a privilege he typically accorded juniors and seniors, but he made an exception for me because of my initiative and strong performance in his class. I was selected to give an oral presentation of my research paper, ‘“A Bad Forced Marriage”: South Sudan’s Struggle for Autonomy,’ which received very positive reviews from scholars and professionals in attendance. In the summer of 2013, I was nominated by the Economics Department to participate in a two-week graduate program in Natural Resource Management and Policy at the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen, Norway. My group research paper for the course was featured on the RECONOMICS Hub, a portal dedicated to covering natural resource, energy, climate and environmental issues around the world from an economic and business perspective.

In 2013, I was awarded the Carl H. Linder Outstanding Junior Award by the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards. This is a $10 000 scholarship awarded annually to one outstanding undergraduate student in the college. In February 2015, I was also awarded the Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence (PLME), a prestigious honor awarded by the University President to exceptional graduating students who best exemplify scholarship, leadership, character, service and the ideals of the University of Cincinnati.

Last summer, I had the privilege of interning at Absolute Return Strategies, a leading US hedge fund that trades in the forex market. My primary roles included analyzing and reviewing potential investment opportunities for the firm, and managing the decimation and email campaign readership measurement. I had the remarkable opportunity to see firsthand how a financial institution was leveraging business analytics tools to become an industry leader. This experience further motivated me to pursue a master’s degree in Business Analytics at the University of Cincinnati. My dream is to tap into the immense potential of big data in global real estate investment. I intend to return to Kenya at the end of my studies, to contribute my professional skills and take advantage of the ample opportunities for entrepreneurship in the real estate industry. Eventually, I plan to pursue a political career in my country: until Kenya has a female president, I’m still in the running for the top job!

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