This year, 2020, has been one of change and of hard truth being exposed, said Edlla-Beata Tetteh, who will graduate with a degree in microbiology from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“With the pandemic, we’ve seen the disparities in our healthcare system,” and how people of color are adversely affected, she said. “For me personally, it opened my eyes about what ‘good’ health care means and the need for medical advancement in microbiology.”
Tetteh, who hails from Aurora, Colorado, spent last summer obtaining a certified nurse assistant license. She has continued this work through the pandemic.
“I wanted to make sure I was doing my part for public health,” she said. “The facility I work with has had some COVID-19 cases and it was interesting to work with patients.” This work experience also helped her realize an interest in infectious diseases.
Tetteh volunteered this semester to serve as an undergraduate learning assistant for VMBS100, an introductory course for students majoring in biomedical sciences.
Karli Hansen, coordinator for student success, said that Tetteh is kind, committed, approachable and has gone above and beyond in the work she does for the course.
Distinguished Teaching Scholar Erica Suchman said Tetteh impressed her in the classroom.
“Although her semester was full, she volunteered to serve as an undergraduate learning assistant without taking it as a course for credit,” she said. “Edlla took on this role because she wanted the leadership experience and to help guide new students to successfully navigate college and pick the concentration best suited to meet their needs.”
Tetteh said she loved this work, which included grading assignments and holding office hours.
“I was really nervous at first, but it’s been fun to connect with the students, hold office hours and watch them adapt to CSU,” she said.
At the start of 2020, Tetteh was honored as an outstanding young person by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission. She was nominated by one of the pastors at her church based on her volunteer work – with younger people and at Denver Health – and her academic achievements.
Through her church, she helped form an African youth dance group and held performances for the community. At CSU, she shared her dance skills through Africans United, a student-led group that educates people about the rich cultures of Africa through dance, food and traditional events.
Tetteh said racial issues really came to the forefront during the pandemic.
“We were forced to evaluate these racial injustices, which always happen,” she said. “It made people see the disparities within America and more conversations and awareness has taken place because of 2020. It’s been a year of change, a year of exposure. There’s way more work to be done, but I’m glad we’re having the conversations we’ve had.”
Following graduation, she plans to study for the Medical College Admission Test, MCAT, and hopes to work in a lab setting at Children’s Hospital Colorado on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
“That would be the best blend of medicine and microbiology for me,” she said.
Tetteh is the recipient of a scholarship from the Microbiology Student Association in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.