Linda Kugblenu graduated from Bates College in 2013 with a double major in Politics and Rhetoric. Against great odds, Linda was one of only 30 chosen out of over 1,000 applicants to work as Business Development Manager for an ed-tech company as well as consult with a Mumbai microfinance company upon graduation. Very recently, she received an offer to work in the marketing division of Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, a UK-based financial publishing company which focuses on international finance, metals, and the commodity markets. She readily admits, “All of this would not have been possible had it not been for the love, support, and mentorship I received from my Coaches and the Let’s Get Ready team.”
About nine years ago, Linda moved to the United States from Accra, Ghana with her parents and two siblings. As a high school sophomore, she faced difficulty learning the nuances of a new culture, and the even more difficult task of navigating the American high school system. New York proved a bit of a culture shock, and she found herself having to part ways with aspects of Ghanaian culture. “I learned through experience that speaking quietly and refusing to give a person eye contact during a conversation gave the impression that you were not confident. In Ghana, it is regarded as a sign of respect.”
Linda’s parents had not attended college, but they encouraged their children to achieve excellence in every aspect of their lives. The pressure to succeed, although mostly self-imposed, made Linda’s academic life challenging. She worked countless hours to ensure that the work that she was producing was exemplary.
Although Linda excelled in her AP classes at Frederick Douglass Academy, she was overwhelmed by the college application process. She was intimidated by the numerous college application requirements including the SAT exam and especially the college essay questions.
Linda enrolled in Let’s Get Ready’s program in 2008 while still a high school junior. There she encountered an “indispensable support system” and a network of encouraging peers. “It was always very refreshing chatting with my Coaches,” she says. “They would share stories about their own struggles, and encouraged me to keep pushing on. My coaches and mentors also helped me to gain an understanding of the different size and types of schools in this country, and the minimum requirements I would need to apply to these institutions.”
By working with the Coaches in Let’s Get Ready’s College Access Program, Linda raised her SAT score by 160 points. She was accepted into a top liberal arts institution, Maine’s Bates College, where she received sustained support from the program’s volunteers. She asserts, “They were very invested in my academic success and that inspired a lot of my achievements. Before graduating from Bates, I founded a multicultural project about cultures in the African Diaspora” She was also recognized as one of the top students in the Rhetoric Department, winning over $15,000 in fellowships and grants. The funding allowed her to study and live in Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, and London.
Today, Linda continues to be involved with the Let’s Get Ready, serving as an inspiration for current students through her involvement with Let’s Get Ready events.