April 2021 Student Spotlight: Hilary Ansah | Department of Geography and the Environment

April 2021 Student Spotlight: Hilary Ansah

Though the Spring 2021 semester is at a close, we wanted to feature one more student in Geography. This month's student spotlight is Hilary Ansah! Hilary came to our department in Fall 2019. She has been studying with Dr. Waquar Ahmed and is working on her thesis titled "Behind the curtain of public space: Revealing the narratives of Corporate Street hawking in Globalizing Accra". She's also been a Teaching Assistant in several classes in the department including earth science and economic geography. Most recently, Hilary was elected to be part of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi and will officially join in May.

Hilary's passion for making an impact on urban policies (particularly for disadvantaged groups in the city (e.g., street hawkers) was ignited during her undergraduate studies in Economics and Geography at the University of Ghana. She took courses in various sub-disciplines of human geography, which influenced her appreciation of relevant policies for urban residents. Her drive for geography further heightened during her ongoing graduate studies in Geography at UNT, where she is specializing in globalization, development, and GIS (Hilary was particularly drawn to our program because of these specialization courses). She was also impressed with our top-notch faculty and their research interests.

For Hilary, there is not one "best" thing about being a graduate student at UNT . . . there are many things! Apart from the fact that she gets to bask in the greenery (her favorite color) of campus and have the eagle (her favorite bird) as a mascot, she admires and appreciates the social support from faculty, administrative staff, and her cohort (especially as an international student). "They are simply giving and amazing!" She also appreciates the weekly inspirational message that the graduate school sends out. In her opinion, support and inspiration are some of the crucial needs of any student, most especially a graduate student. All of these things have helped Hilary on the path to success at UNT.

After she graduates with her Master's degree, Hilary plans to be a part of the international community by working with other countries to make significant contributions to social and economic development, working especially with disadvantaged groups. In other words, she aspires to become a development implementer and a global urban activist. But for now, Hilary knows there is more work and more school ahead (she has a goal to get her PhD!).

During her time as a graduate student, Hilary has learned many lessons. For example, she has learned how to be patient with herself. She had to relearn that she is in competition with no one but herself. Through this, she has allowed herself to grow. For Hilary, graduate school and life, for that matter, is not a sprint but a marathon. Hilary has also learned how to be giving through her words and actions. She knows the value of complimenting others and expressing her love and appreciation to people like her family, friends, colleagues, and faculty. She also acknowledges the gift of time through empowering others with her experiences and helping in any way she can. Hilary is a firm believer in that we cannot succeed without people. Lastly, Hilary has learned to just have fun, smile, and to not be serious all the time. Doing this allows her not to dwell on mistakes or failure but to acknowledge it, learn from others, and just keep on going. Hilary has also remembered the value of consistency, to focus on the things and people that empower her, and to hold on to her faith.

Because we can't end a student feature without some fun facts, here are some about Hilary! She has never watched any of the Star Wars movies, she can braid her own hair pretty well, strawberry is her least favorite fruit, and "Youtubeschool" is her favorite school. One of her goals in life is to set up a mentorship program/non-profit for college students. As a resident of Denton, Hilary discovered a new "hidden gem" in town - Bath and Body Works at Razor Ranch on University Drive recently opened. She loves fragrances so she is excited about that!

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Student Spotlight

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