Canton Online


CSI Effect

Ghanaian-born Cassidy Asiamah ’22 didn’t fully develop a passion for science until she moved to the U.S. when she was 8 years old.

Growing up watching American crime dramas like “Law & Order” and “CSI,” which cast female actors as coroners, medical examiners, and pathologists, opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

“In Ghana, there weren’t many role models for girls like me who loved science, apart from nurses and a few doctors.” she explained. “When I started seeing women in the forensic field, I decided that was the direction I wanted to go.”

In high school, problems at home led to Asiamah being placed in foster care, which created challenges, both
mentally and academically.

“I had a traumatic year, and I wasn’t doing well in school,” she recalled, adding that her grades and attendance suffered.

Despite this setback, she graduated early by doubling her workload and attending evening classes.

“That has been my most meaningful achievement so far, because while I was dealing with the stress of school, I was placed in several different foster homes.”

Even with all the demands on her time, Asiamah still made community service a priority. She volunteered with the Brotherhood/Sister Sol organization in Harlem, which supports youth from disadvantaged communities. She is also an ambassador for New Yorkers for Children, a nonprofit that advocates for individuals who have aged out of foster care.

“Working with NYFC has been a great experience. I've learned that all foster children are seeking the love they deserve.”

When it came time to decide on a college, she signed up for a bus trip to campus and enjoyed Canton’s quiet, rural location and friendly people. Not only did she find a program that lined up with her career aspirations to become a medical examiner, but her acceptance to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provided the academic and financial support she needed.

When SUNY created an EOP Student Ambassadors initiative last Fall, Asiamah was selected as a member of its inaugural class. She and 20 of her peers from across the state meet with high schools students and talk about the program’s benefits.

“Financially, I wouldn't be able to attend college without EOP support,” she said. “A lot of students don’t understand how beneficial a program like this can be.”

Receiving a Canton College Foundation scholarship called Promises Kept Pathways also helped defray her tuition costs. Alumna Ornella Parker ’14, one of the lead donors, wanted to assist financially disadvantaged Black students who displayed leadership skills and were involved in their communities.

Asiamah graduates in May with a degree in Criminal Investigation and a minor in Forensic Science. Her goal is to enroll in a post baccalaureate program, take the MCAT exam, apply to medical school, and become a certified medical examiner. She said her experiences at Canton have built a solid foundation for what’s ahead.

“Every class I take confirms I am on the right path,” she said. “The College has created meaningful memories that are going to stick with me for life.”