David Antwi '17 of Ghana is following in the footsteps of two of his aunts by majoring in nursing at Elms. 

David Antwi

Nursing student David Antwi '17 of Ghana with one of his best friends at Elms, Shinsuke Tanaka of Japan. David is holding the Unsung Hero Award he received from his cross country teammates this year, one of whom is Shinsuke.

An International Nursing Legacy

Nursing student David Antwi ’17 of Ghana wanted to attend a small college so he could really get to know people. During his search for the perfect school, he had two good reasons to choose Elms: “Both of my aunties came here,” he said.

His aunts are alumna Victoria Antwi Boasiako ’10, a nurse at Baystate Medical Center, and Grace Antwi Boasiako ’15, a nursing student who graduates in May.

After some initial hesitation, the nursing program has been an excellent fit for him. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to like nursing, but I really like it here,” he said. “The professors are great, and I like the smaller classes - I really do well in smaller groups.”

Small groups were not something he experienced much in high school. David attended Opoko Ware School, the first Catholic boys school in Kumasi, the Asante Kingdom, Ghana. The school, which serves Ghana’s northern region, is huge, with more than 1,500 students living in nine dorms. During his high school career, David served as a resident advisor.

“Coming from such a large school, I like that my professors here know me,” David said. “If I have any problems, I go straight to my professor.”

That relationship, and his “strategies for studying” that include one-on-one talks with his professors when he needs extra clarification, have helped David achieve a 4.0 GPA.

In terms of getting to know people, David has easily accomplished that goal: he’s been commuting to campus for a little over a year, and his friends are convinced he already knows everyone at Elms. That could be because of how well he has immersed himself in campus life.

David is co-president of the International Club, has volunteered for campus ministry community service projects, has served as a “friendship partner” for students visiting Elms from the University of Kochi in Japan, and is a member of the Elms men’s cross country team.

Being a member of a sports team is new for David, but he’s made fast friends with his teammates, so much so that they presented him with an Unsung Hero Award this season.

David’s experience in the International Club hasn’t just been satisfying personally. “This semester I have seen others come out of their shells,” through the group’s activities, he said.

The network at Elms is one that encourages success both academically and personally, he said.

"One thing I've realized about Elms is how you are easily identified and supported with resources, and exposed to opportunities that can push you to maximize your potential," David said. “The Career Center and the International Programs Office have really enlightened me about a lot of things I never paid attention to or never considered.”

David comes from a close-knit family and is the youngest of six children. Most of his family, including his parents and twin brother, Daniel, are back home in Ghana. David lives with members of his extended family locally and hasn’t been home since he started at Elms, but hopes to be able to make the journey next summer. He does have one sister in the States, who is a nurse in Virginia.

While David wasn’t able to convince Daniel to attend Elms, he has served as an international ambassador of sorts for Elms in Ghana.

“I’ve had a number of people in Ghana email me about coming here,” David said. “I tell them how nice it is, so in the future there might be a lot of students here from Ghana,” he added, laughing.

As for the future, David hopes to eventually become a nurse practitioner, and perhaps pursue his advanced degree at Elms.

“I hope I can,” he said. “Elms would definitely be a good choice for me.”