Name: Yehowahi Sekan
Major(s): Mechanical Engineering
Home Country: Ghana
From co-founding the Black Professional Network, to learning how to play the saxophone, and earning a degree in mechanical engineering, Yehowahi Sekan fondly looks back at his last four years at NYU Abu Dhabi.
His mission was clear since he began applying to universities. Sekan wanted to be in an environment where he would learn as much in the classroom as he would from his peers.
While researching universities, he discovered NYUAD and became intrigued by the diverse student body and unique location. Besides being a liberal arts university that is closer to his home in Ghana, NYUAD provided him the opportunity to thrive in a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment. It is an environment that fosters young academics to bridge the gap between disciplines.
“I wanted a place where my classroom education would not necessarily be the only kind of education I get,” Sekan said. To his parents, NYUAD was an easy sell. Having been to the UAE before, Sekan’s parents understood the country’s commitment to building a nation that hosted world-class institutions and nurtured human capital with global ambition. In their minds, they had no doubt that a university in the UAE was going to be something special.
Co-founding the Black Professional Network
During his third year at NYUAD, Sekan found himself and many others in a similar position. Although they were getting support from the University in preparing for job interviews and landing internships, he saw merit in developing a network to share experiences among his peers and alumni. Identifying an opportunity, Sekan co-founded the Black Professional Network which aims to help Black students search for professional and postgraduate opportunities. Reaching out to alumni through word of mouth and personal contacts, the Black Professional Network shares useful information from Black seniors or alumni that would help current students during their various application processes.
Sekan also fell in love with the saxophone while taking a beginner’s course. As a mechanical engineering major, it was a class he took for which he had “absolutely zero knowledge.” To go from learning from scratch, to being able to perform in the NYUAD Blue Hall in front of a small audience was very satisfying for Sekan. “I really like that tangible growth and it meant a lot,” Sekan explained, and credits Lecturer of Music, Warren Churchill for the guidance. Sekan has since bought a saxophone and continues his practice.
The past two years have shown Sekan how communities form in times of shared hardship. “There’s been a great sense of togetherness… people coming together to support each other,” he added. Having the Commencement ceremony in person was one last hurrah with friends who he formed strong bonds with and parted from with a clear message: It’s more of a see you later rather than goodbye.