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Baruch College Student Awarded Venture for America Fellowship

Simbiat Akanni's headshot, posed and smiling in a pink blouse

Simbiat Akanni is also a Gilman International Scholar

Baruch College student Simbiat Akanni ’18, an Entrepreneurship Management major, was awarded a fellowship with Venture for America (VFA). The highly competitive program provides recent graduates the opportunity to work in a start-up environment and creates jobs in American cities.

Akanni is the third Baruch College student to receive and accept a VFA fellowship, which involves a rigorous application and selection process during its nationwide recruitment for fellows.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join VFA’s class of 2018 after graduation,” said Akanni. “As a previous accounting major with four internships on Wall Street, I never imagined that I would take such an unconventional path. I encourage my peers and mentees on campus to take charge of their career aspirations and passionately pursue their purpose.”

According to VFA, its mission is to initiate “economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.”

Inspiring Experience in Ghana

Previously, Akanni was awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study in Ghana for the winter 2018 semester. Studying in the West African nation confirmed her desire to create businesses that would provide economic opportunities to underserved communities globally.

“The program allowed for experiential learning and being immersed in Ghana’s culture definitely peaked my interest in international development,” said Akanni, who added, “my goal of being a renowned entrepreneur, businesswoman and world influencer remains the same.”

Support for Students

According to Akanni, she learned about the VFA opportunity through the Office of National & Prestigious Fellowships Advising. The office helps students through the essential steps of applying for fellowships and scholarships, including writing proposals. In recent years, Baruch students have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships, Critical Language Scholarships, Jeannette K. Watson Fellowships, among others.


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