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Larisa Bowen-Dodoo’s letter to her young self

​Editor’s note: Larisa Bowen-Dodoo is dedicated to advancing women and girls in STEM. An engineering graduate from the University of Ghana, Larisa was the Student Network Coordinator for the Ghana Biomedical Convention. She is founder of Levers in Heels, and had been a mentor for Tech Needs Girls. See below for the many other initiatives she’s involved in. This is an invited contribution to our Letter to My Young Self series.

Dear Larisa,

Happy Independence Day! ’97 must be a good year. 20 years has been pretty challenging, but there’s been a lot of progress made.

How is Tarkwa? I miss it there – the trees, the fresh air…sigh. Good times.

You must be excited to move to Accra. Brace yourself. It’s quite different down here. But, I am sure you will make the most of your life here.

Here are a few things I’d like to share with you about your journey. All of these are from experience. Thank me later.

Remember how daddy always quizzed you on math and science? Well, it’ll eventually pay off. Math will be one of your sweet spots. You’ll be fortunate to have a science and engineering education where many girls like you in Ghana aren’t as privileged. Make good use of these opportunities. I also encourage you to protect your sleep at your young age. You have no idea what’s coming. ☺

Make it a point to read more often. You will be surprised how much your knowledge will open many doors and create relationships with the people you admire.

Try not to worry so much about your path or profession. They say “where purpose, passion and skill collide, bliss resides”. Be open, learn to take risks and work hard. It all works out.

As you grow older, don’t let fear stop you from doing the things that you are passionate about. Remember, fear is an enemy of progress.

Learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in situations that will help you grow.

You don’t know this yet, but you will be doing some pretty impactful things. Just believe in yourself.

Your older self,



Larisa Bowen-Dodoo is a growing leader with years of experience in Engineering Research, Youth Engagement, Entrepreneurial Product Development and Project Coordination. She is the founder of Levers in Heels, a digital platform highlighting rising African women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), and a Project Coordinator with the British Council in Ghana where she leads the organization of impactful projects from planning to delivery.

As a Global Shaper and President at the Accra Hub of the Global Shapers community, Larisa is passionate about creating and inspiring positive change with her team in Ghana and beyond.