Daniel Oppong is a self-starter.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in his home country of Ghana, he went from sitting in class to teaching one. As part of his national service duty, Daniel taught chemistry at a local high school.
With the allowance he received for his teaching, he established his own small-scale yogurt production factory. He realized pretty quickly he needed an even deeper understanding of the science involved in yogurt production.
“While serving as CEO and quality control manager in my company, I encountered many unsolved problems which required further knowledge in chemistry and biology,” he said.
That meant going back to school.
So, he reached out to some of his college friends, who were doctoral students at CMU and inquired about the quality of education here. He also spoke to CMU faculty and did some of his own research.
“I found at CMU there is an academic excellence; respect for human dignity irrespective of race, ethnicity or sex; the flexibility to do courses and programs of interest to me; and the financial support,” he said.
Oh, and he also was able to do some impactful research.
Daniel is conducting research alongside Linlin Zhao, studying protein DNA interaction to understand the repair mechanisms in the context of the human Mitochondrial genome.
“My graduate research in Zhao’s lab required knowledge in both chemistry and biology,” he said.
A perfect blend to help him advance his company.
“Having this opportunity is a dream come true, and it will help me contribute immensely to academia and industry,” he said. “This research is done using ultramodern facilities.”
In addition to advancing his production factory, Daniel is finding personal growth in his studies.
“CMU has helped shape my life not only academically, but also personally. It has helped me improve my way of teaching and helping students through teaching assistantship,” he said. “I also have gained lots of research experience, learned teamwork and developed good interpersonal relationships.”