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Sanford Faculty Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 - Education

November 28, 2018

Sally Naumah standing in an empty auditorium

Sanford Faculty member Sally Nuamah has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 - Education List for 2019. The list aims to connect a cohort of "America's most precocious visionaries" in the world of learning. The list is selective; only 4 percent of those nominated are recognized by the judges.

"...leaders like Nuamah are a testament to the strength of the entrepreneurial spirit in academia's young disruptors," wrote Forbes editor Carter Coudriet. "The first-generation Ghanaian-American has, by 29-years-old, already become a tenure-track professor at Duke, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and the founder of a non-profit that helps fund first-generation, low income girls' college education."

Sally Nuamah’s current work focuses on educational access for girls and the widespread closing of public schools, particularly the effects of closures on the political beliefs of the affected citizens. These subjects are the topics of her forthcoming books How Girls Achieve and When Schools Close, the former scheduled for publication by Harvard University Press in 2019.

Her passion for her work as a professor and activist is deeply rooted in her background. Nuamah was born and raised in inner-city Chicago by her immigrant mother from Kumasi, Ghana. She says her upbringing in the States, traveling abroad to her parents’ homeland and speaking to other women seeking higher education in Accra helped her realize the importance of education. Her experiences became the topic of her TEDx Talk at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“There is no other mechanism [besides education] more probable for improving lives and enabling people to have a future that’s different from their past or where they come from,” she said.