Botsio, Bottomly, Albright
Major: Africana Studies and International Relations/Political Science
Hometown: Accra, Ghana

Merene Botsio '12

Why did you choose Wellesley?

For this question, I would take a quotation out of my Why Wellesley essay, which I wrote when I was applying. "Another reason why I love Wellesley so much is the strong alumni network and the caliber of women that the school churns out. Personally I have always admired Hillary Clinton, and it has always been my greatest desire to attend the college that helped shape her into the successful woman and politician she is today. Hopefully one day, with the vast experience I would have amassed from Wellesley, I would be able to make a difference in this world and enter the annals of the school’s history as one of its greatest". Today, not only have I met Hillary Clinton, thanks to Wellesley, but also I can say with confidence that I am well on my way to achieving my dreams.

What is a favorite Wellesley memory thus far?

I have many great memories, but one thing that will forever stay with me as I leave Wellesley is the smiles. The smiles of my passionate and encouraging friends, host family, professors, mentors, co-workers and general staff, many of which have turned a dull day into a bright one.

What memorable fun event have you attended?

Mamaland, the African Cultural Show that is held in the fall semester of every year. I don't say this only because I am African but also because it is a beauty to behold, on one stage, the vibrancy of colors, languages, dance, music, people and culture of the land that I hold dearest to my heart.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

A little grove by the lake near Slater International House. It was the first place I retreated to, specifically during my first day at Wellesley, when I felt lost in a new country and a new environment. I still go there, especially when it is warm, because the view is beautiful; it is peaceful; and it is where I first dreamt and still dream of the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead of me.

What is an interest that you are passionate about?

I am a woman of diverse interests but nothing touches my heart more than finding solutions to socio-economic problems that affect women and children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Where do you go when you leave campus?

The place I go to most frequently off-campus is Pentecostal Tabernacle Church. A diverse congregation with a sizable population of college and graduate students, many of whom have become friends, mentors, and even adopted siblings, it is a place I retreat to hear more about God's word, gain advice on daily living from our wonderful Bishop, and interact with people, many of whom have similar life passions as I do.

How have you changed during your time here?

I have grown and matured immensely since I came to Wellesley. My perspective on many issues, be they religious, cultural, social, or economic, have broadened. I have learned to respect other people's viewpoints and to argue out mine without coming off as disrespectful. I have gained invaluable study skills and knowledge sets. I have learned to be more social and less introverted. I have learned that if you have a dream, you need to be fearless and pursue it, regardless of circumstance. Above all, I have learned to define and refine what my passion in life is, and I have developed the enthusiasm to follow this passion through to completion.

What is your proudest achievement at Wellesley?

My proudest achievement so far is my selection as a Fellow of the Albright Institute, which has subsequently opened numerous doors for me.

Describe an interesting interaction with an alumna.

International students are assigned host families, if they so wish upon admission. Mine has been phenomenal. My host mum, who is a Wellesley alum, and her family have been a great blessing and have been there for me throughout my four years, encouraging me and providing me with a home away from home. My interactions with them during school time and holidays have assuaged much of my homesickness. I will definitely be eternally grateful to them and to the many Wellesley alumnae who have put wide smiles on my face throughout my four years.

Have you participated in an internship experience?

In the summer of 2010, through the generosity of the Wellesley’s Center for Work and Service (CWS), I pursued an internship with the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) in Accra, Ghana. The AWDF is a grant-making foundation that supports women's organizations and initiatives in over 40 African countries. It was working here that I discovered my passion for gender and development. Visiting women's organizations in select rural communities in Ghana opened my eyes to the immense resources, human and natural, that my country holds, as well as the great potential of women to transform these resources into positive stories.

What advice would you give a prospective student? 

Wellesley is a bit of a W or a series of Ws. There will be the high points and the low points. But always note that the Wellesley W has more high points than low points, just as your life here will be. When you are close to graduating, just as I am now, you will look back on all these experiences, on all the people, on all the support and say, "Definitely, four of the best years of my life."