Meet Zoe Gadebegku (C’15), Aspiring Storyteller

This fall, the University launched “Georgetown Stories,”  a multi-media, first-person, “vlog” (video blog) that will follow 11 undergraduate students throughout the academic year as their Georgetown stories unfold.  Each student’s story will be told through a series of videos, still photography, emails and social media posts with the goal of more intimately connecting everyone in the Georgetown community (both on and off of the Hilltop).  In a series of blog posts this year, ACS student intern Khadijah Davis (N’15) will be sharing these stories through the Alumni Career Services lens.

Zoe Gadebegku, the Storyteller

Zoe Gadebegku (C’ 15) describes herself as someone who is passionate about people and their stories.

“Everybody has an edge or something that makes them interesting,” she says.

Zoe has an interesting story herself. Her Georgetown Stories series chronicles her everyday experience as a curious student, tenacious leader and encouraging friend.

The Transition to Georgetown

For many students, the transition from their home town to Washington, D.C. is a culture shock. For Zoe, a French major from Accra, Ghana, the transition from her home country to the District is continuously evolving and has become a large part of her own story.

“My eyes had been accustomed to a totally different political and cultural landscape to that of my peers,” she said. “I’m still learning to laugh at my own nerves and timidity, glorying instead in my difference and celebrating the flavor I was adding to a place I have grown to love.”

Becoming a Writer

Being a woman for others is of much importance to Zoe, who once debated whether pursuing writing was the path for her.

When asked to reflect on her decision to become a writer, Zoe said, “Up until recently, I thought that the best way to make an impact on others was to go into advocacy or social work to ensure that I was doing something meaningful for others. I saw writing as a self-indulgent pursuit because it was something that I loved doing but may not have any direct effect on other people. Now I’ve realized that using my talent and passion for writing can be a powerful tool to uplift others and to spur social change.”

Inspiration

Zoe draws inspiration from a diverse range of writers, but greatly admires women writers of color. She said her inspirations include women such as Anita Desai, Ama Ata Aidoo, Toni Morrison and, more recently, Chimamanda Adiche.

She also notes that she is greatly inspired by alumni who pursue creative fields in film and literature post-Georgetown.

“There’s sometimes pressure to follow a more conventional path after graduation,” she said. “I heard Brit Marling (C’05) speak at the 2013 Senior Convocation, and I thought it was so inspiring that she picked up and moved to LA with two friends to pursue their aspirations in the film industry especially since there was no guarantee that they were going to be successful.”

On campus, Zoe serves as the President of the African Society of Georgetown and previous Editor-In-Chief of The Fire This Time, the university’s premiere multicultural news publication. Next year, she will begin her Fulbright Fellowship in Dakar, Senegal where she will write a collection of short stories on the women she encounters there​.  In ten years, she hopes to be well on her way as novelist that writes the stories that “make people feel something.”

Learn more about Georgetown Stories at www.georgetownstories.com and share your own Georgetown story #georgetownstories.  

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