MSU Q&A: An interview with Gideon Tuffour Amponsah

EVANSTON, Ill. – Gideon Tuffour Amponsah ’19 found his way from Ghana to beautiful Minot in 2016, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance.

He developed a love for advocacy at an early age and pursued opportunities to give back to his society in Ghana. This passion stuck with him even after he moved to the United States and though he went on to excel in the accounting and finance world, giving him numerous skills and experiences, he was assured that one day, he would get the chance to utilize them in the field of law.

As fate would have it, he recently became the recipient of a $150,000 Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Scholarship and now, more than ever, he is able to go after that dream with the knowledge and experience he has gathered over the years in his previous endeavors, putting him at the forefront of success.

Minot State University Communications contacted Amponsah via email to discuss the scholarship, law school, and his path to MSU.

Congratulations on your impressive achievement! Can you tell us about your journey from studying accounting and finance at Minot State to receiving a scholarship for Northwestern Pritzker School of Law?

GA: Thank you very much. It’s been a long journey but I’m happy to be here. I moved to the US as an international student in 2016. When I first arrived in Minot, I knew I wanted to go to law school. I engaged with my professors, attended office hours and stayed active with many school activities. I graduated from Minot State University in 2019. Studying accounting and finance at Minot State was a good time in my life. The professors were great and willing to help students succeed.

What motivated you to pursue a legal career?

GA: When I was 10 years old, I was fortunate to have been part of a group advocated for children rights, young people and women development in Ghana, that led programs on radio and television.

During this time, I had the opportunity to engage with the government of Ghana, the United Nations, its agencies, and other stakeholders, in designing policies and initiatives for children, young people and women. I quickly came to the realization that many of these policies and laws that were passed were left on the shelves of government offices with no enforcement. This and many injustices I saw happening to people is what sparked my interest in pursuing a career in law.

How do you think your background in accounting and finance will influence your legal education and career? Are there any specific areas of law where you hope to apply your financial expertise?

GA: I believe it will help me a lot. I have gained a unique perspective through my studies in accounting and finance as well as my experience working in the accounting industry. In my previous job, I worked as an auditor and got to experience how businesses operate and the laws governing them. I’m hoping my experience in finance will help me excel in corporate law.

Could you share some of the key experiences or skills you gained during your time at Minot State that have prepared you for success in law school and beyond?

GA: At Minot State, I was taught how to give back to the community. Through many leadership programs the school encourages students to participate in, particularly, the Roger Looyenga leadership program.

In this program, you are taught that it pays to give back to the community. I was taught how to take initiatives to lead and how to be the change you want to see. I was encouraged as a member of the students, government association to bring students issues to leadership of the school and demand action. At Minot State, I was taught to pay attention to details through research assignments and projects. Overall, the school encouraged students to be good people; the need to be kind, respectful and thoughtful about others.

As you prepare to embark on your legal education at Northwestern, what are you most excited about? Are there any specific courses or opportunities you're looking forward to exploring?

GA: Law school has been a long-term dream and I’m so excited I have the opportunity to attend now. I hope to explore clinical opportunities in education, justice, and legal reform.

Can you talk about the significance of receiving a generous scholarship to attend Northwestern Pritzker School of Law? How does it feel to be recognized for your achievements and potential?

GA: Law school is expensive and it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Having the opportunity to attend one of America’s top law schools with a generous scholarship makes me feel fortunate and blessed. I’m grateful to the donors.

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is renowned for its strong faculty and diverse student body. How do you anticipate these factors will contribute to your learning experience and personal growth during your time there?

GA: The more diverse a community is, the better it is for development. Being around a diverse community will help shape my views, I will learn from other people’s experiences and work. Also, a strong and diverse faculty will help professors to understand students' perspectives and their backgrounds. I believe that will encourage me to reach out more comfortably to my professors and colleagues.

Pursuing a law degree is often seen as a significant investment. How do you plan to leverage your legal education and career to make a positive impact, both professionally and in your community?

GA: I’m hoping I can use my career in law to impact my community positively. I plan on being the voice of the voiceless. I plan on taking up many pro bono cases to assist the less fortunate in my community.

Is there any advice you would give to current students at Minot State who may be considering a career path similar to yours? What steps or strategies would you recommend to maximize their chances of success?

GA: I think the best they can do is to listen to their professors, make genuine relationships with faculty, staff and other students. I’m a dreamer. I will encourage everyone to believe in their dreams and work towards them. Many people have done whatever you are trying to do to an extent. Find what you want to do, talk to people in similar fields, figure out what you need to do to get there and work diligently towards it. I believe by God’s grace things will work out for anyone if you put in the work.

You emphasize the importance of student-professor relationship in university, was there any professor(s) that helped you through this process, post graduation?

GA: Yes actually, Dr. Andy Bertsch and Jerry Stai wrote my recommendation letters and I’m very grateful for the role they played in this success.

Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals and aspirations within the field of law? Do you have any specific plans for specialization or potential career paths you are considering?

GA: My long-term goal is to have a great legal career and help as many people as possible. I still have time to figure out exactly what type of law I will be practicing. My goal is to explore many areas and be good at whatever I end up doing.

Finally, as an accomplished Minot State alumnus, how do you think your experiences and achievements can inspire and motivate current and future students at the University?

GA:  I believe the school is as great as any other university in the United States. So many of my friends from Minot State University have ended up going to medical school and other graduate school in Ivy League schools and some of the best colleges in the country. Minot State University prepares students to do well in any field we find ourselves in.

I’m hoping my story and that of the many alumni doing well will inspire current and future students to understand that they can go anywhere from Minot State University and they will be great.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 07/12/23   

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