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Get to know your Professor, Professor Hannah Obadiah

By: Jade Penney

Professor Hannah Obadiah is an English professor here at PCCC. She is from Ghana, which is a small country located in the western part of Africa. Obadiah moved to the U.S. with her siblings and mother in 2002 to Paterson, where her father was living. She explained, “We came in pursuit of better opportunities.” She recalls her childhood as a “dream.” Obadiah explained, “I recall running barefoot on more days than I could count.” Obadiah, her three siblings and mother lived in a small developed village called Bodomase where she says, “Everyone is considered family and friends.” She also explained her early years as being very family-oriented and care free, “Of course, age played a significant part in the sense that I was young with few responsibilities. I learned to cook and clean at a very young age, as expected of many young women back home,” she continued. Learning how to cook at a young age Obadiah explained, is considered to be an honor while transitioning into adulthood. Obadiah recalls one of her favorite things was going to the farm with her grandmother. She explained, “She would always cook my favorite food, Ampesi, as a reward for helping her bring home all the harvest fruits and vegetables.” When asked what it was like living in Africa compared to the U.S. Obadiah said, “The one difference between living here in the U.S. and Ghana is that autonomy is highly welcomed for many Americans. In Ghana, there is a sense of easiness and relaxed atmosphere where I grew up compared to the busy daily lifestyle I have become familiar with here in America.” Obadiah’s passion for reading started at an early age in Africa. Since she had a love for reading it expanded into her having an interest in poetry. She recalled how she would recite poems in elementary school, and wrote letters to her father who was living in the U.S. at the time. Obadiah attended John F. Kennedy high school in Paterson, and there is where she was inspired by her teachers to become a professor. Those teachers include, Mrs. Bozzone, Mrs. Wojcick, and Mr. Mossler. Obadiah continued, “However, there was one other English volunteer teacher from Youth Self Development, YSD, who deserves credit as well, Mrs. Mary-Elizabeth Collins.” Obadiah also thanked the whole YSD team for being an inspiration and a dream to be a part of. Following high school Professor Obadiah attended PCCC as a part of the NJStars scholarship. After receiving her Associates, Obadiah took time off before heading to Ramapo for her Bachelors. She explained, “It just felt impossible for me to further my education at that time period. Reading and writing at my local library (Paterson Library), kept me interested in learning and reminded me why I wanted to pursue learning in the first place.” Obadiah went on to say, “My parents and siblings were inspirational in encouraging me to tutor at PCCC while the personal issue was being resolved. I'm grateful to them.” Obadiah then went to Ramapo College where she got her Bachelors in Literature. Obadiah then continued her education at William Paterson University where she got her Masters in Literature. Professor Obadiah explained teaching at PCCC as “happening according to God’s plan.” She started tutoring English in the Developmental English Lab in 2010. After receiving her Masters, Obadiah was offered to teach a Developmental English course. Which was then followed by teaching Composition classes, and for that she is grateful. When asked what some of her achievements were Obadiah said, “One of my biggest achievement is making my parents and myself proud, which I've succeeded in doing with God's grace and mercies.” She continued, “Another thing that marvels me is being a vehicle for all immigrants in America who migrated to this beautiful country with a plethora of opportunities, yet sometimes feel frustrated and hopeless. To all my fellow immigrants, Rome wasn't built in a day. Keep hope alive. Success is a distant away if you believe.” Like any other teacher or professor, they all have goals that they want to be able to provide for their students. Obadiah explained, “My goal as a teacher is to inspire my students so that they can also inspire in and out of the classroom.” She continued with saying her motto will always be, “Education doesn't stop in the classroom.” She went on to say “It's a collective process… I want my students to use the materials learned inside the classroom to teach friends and family.” Professor Obadiah isn’t published yet, but she is working on a children’s picture book. The name of the book will be Amma Reads, which is about a girl who wishes to learn.

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