First-year Bachelor of Commerce in Information Technology student Emmanuella Owusu has been awarded the Melissa Grelo Entrance Award for Black and Indigenous Excellence. The award is granted to a woman entering the first year at the School of Information Technology or the Department of Economics, in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).
Melissa Grelo (BA, psychology and French) is a celebrated alumna, well-known for her work moderating CTV’s The Social and her other successes in television broadcasting. She remains connected to York University through both prominent volunteer roles and her generous financial support.
Coming from a family that recognized the importance of education as a key to transforming the world, Grelo strongly advocates post-secondary education for young women and believes society can foster positive change when inequities are removed.
“While talent may be equal across cultures, opportunities are not, and it is up to privileged people like us to level the playing field for everyone alike. This will allow diverse voices to come forward and set the change in motion,” said Grelo.
Grelo has previously voiced how her education in psychology and a career in teaching helped her understand societal challenges faced by Black, Indigenous and newcomers to Canada.
Owusus, this year’s recipient, was born in Ghana and moved to Canada when she was 10 years old. Hailing from a big family of five siblings, Owusu’s dream of becoming an auditor demanded higher education and this award will take her one step closer. “It helps adds motivation towards my goal by helping lessen the burden of our financial bills,” she said.
Owusu shares her father and older sister’s admiration of York, and though her father was unable to complete his studies, Owusu’s sister did and is a constant reminder to keep reaching for her dreams.
“Being a woman is difficult as it is and when you’re a Black woman the limitations are often broken by people who are ready to support you,” Owusu said, sharing her perspective as a young Black woman in Canada. “I cultivated a love for numbers long ago and this award is the best thing that has happened to me.”
Throughout her application process Owusu said she felt grateful to be supported by her sister; now that she is engaged with the York community as a student, she is also connecting with her donor for mentorship.
“The few months I have spent at York, I have met wonderful people, including my peers, professors, counsellors and advisors that are positively impacting my university experience. This program has opened my eyes to a new opportunity,” said Owusu.