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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

The Best Accident

When he was just 8 years old, Joseph Boateng left his home in Ghana to live with his parents in Ohio. It was a journey undertaken with the hope to reunite with his family and prepare for a bright future. It would also, with a little help from fate, lead him to the University of Dayton.

Boateng graduated from UD in the spring of 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in health science, but initially, Dayton wasn’t even on his radar. 

“I thought UD wouldn’t be affordable. Besides, I had never been to the Dayton area, so I wasn’t thinking of coming here for college,” said Boateng.

However, a fortunate suggestion from a classmate made him curious enough to enquire. When asked about the experience, a wide smile lit up his face, because he didn’t just search “apply to UD.” 

“I acted on instinct and called Flyer Student Services, almost by accident. Despite it being too late to make the application deadline, the lady who responded to my call was extremely warm and encouraging. I didn’t receive that compassion and energy from any other place. She immediately connected me to someone from financial aid, and that set my Flyer journey in motion,” shared Boateng.

Seizing Opportunities

Boateng qualified for the President's Merit Scholarship, but the costs still would have been significant for his family. However, his future as a Flyer was sealed when he was accepted into the Flyer Promise Scholars program. The program covered all of Boateng’s tuition costs and significantly reduced his housing and meal costs at UD. Those benefits were expected. What surprised him was the program’s impact on his personal and professional development.

Through Flyer Promise activities like success coaching, advising, mentorship programs and the Dress for Success program, Boateng built a professional network and future lifelong friendships while finding a true vocation through research and hands-on opportunities.  

“Flyer Promise encourages you to expand your experiences. So, even though I am a health science major, I have done a lot of research in other subjects and been to many conferences."

“Flyer Promise encourages you to expand your experiences. So, even though I am a health science major, I have done a lot of research in other subjects and been to many conferences,” said Boateng. And it started with him taking a class with Mary Fuhs, associate professor in the Department of Psychology.

Fuhs describes Joseph as one of the most engaged and intellectually curious students in her 10 years at UD. “He has an amazing ability for critical thinking and research,” said Fuhs. She believes that it was his willingness to dive deep into research in developmental psychology at UD that led to him developing a project that he was able to present at the American Educational Research Association national conference in California.

Boateng conducted research in early childhood cognitive development and went on to be one of the handful of undergraduate participants among predominantly doctoral-level presenters at the AERA conference.

“At the AERA conference, I networked with a lot of Ph.D. students who were surprised that, being a sophomore, I was able to get in there,” said Boateng.

Valuing Experiential Learning

In addition to his experience with research and conferences, he valued his opportunities for experiential learning at UD.

“I shadowed physicians, occupational therapists, nurses, physicians’ assistants and — what will become my career — physical therapists. I like to be on a long-term journey with patients and find physical therapy to be the most personable of all professions I experienced. The various shadowing opportunities really helped me realize which profession was the best fit for me,” said Boateng.

He was the president of the African Students Association, President’s Emissary, secretary of the Pre-Physical Therapy Club and a mentor at the PEERS Mentor Program. He also had the opportunity to learn on the job as a technician at Orion Physical Therapy.

Throughout his journey at UD, Boateng was able to focus on professional growth and attain his full potential because of Flyer Promise — a donor-funded program that helps talented students realize their UD dreams.

Following his graduation, he plans to stay connected with the UD alumni network and with the Flyer Promise Scholars Program.

“Looking back at how my journey at UD started and the opportunities and success I have had, I can say that it was the best accident that could’ve happened to me.”

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