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Plato said, “The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics.” If this is true, then Health Sciences B&G Worker Kobena Johnson has very lofty goals.
A 2007 U of M graduate in mathematics, Johnson is currently pursuing his master’s degree. Facilities Management is helping support his pursuits through the Regents Scholarship program, which provides eligible employees with tuition dollars for U of M credit courses.
Born in Togo, West Africa, Johnson never had aspirations of coming to the United States while growing up. But because Togo is a French Colony, he did think about moving to Europe. After graduating high school and completing two years of university, he moved-in with some relatives in Strasbourg, France, in 2002.
While looking into French universities, Johnson applied for, and won, a diversity visa (DV) to the United States. The U.S. government makes available 50,000 DV’s annually to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of U.S. immigration.
Upon arriving in the U.S., Johnson enrolled in the University of Minnesota and began pursuing his degree in mathematics. In 2005, he began working as a student worker for Housing and Residence Life, but had to give up his position to find full-time work to pay for school. During his senior year he landed a full-time job as a B&G worker in the Health Sciences district, where he has worked for the past two years.
Kobena was then accepted to graduate school at the U of M and took advantage of the Regent’s Scholarship to help fund his master’s degree.
Johnson enjoys his work environment at the U. In his previous job he worked alone, so he appreciates working with nice co-workers and a helpful supervisor that support him in his district.
Most of Johnson’s family lives in France now, so he doesn't return to Togo. However, he does make occasional trips to visit his relatives in France. Since his mother travels a lot for her import/export business she can make her way to visit when he is in Europe.
Johnson speaks an impressive four languages -- English, French and two native African dialects (Mina and Fon). He says that he is glad he knows English, because it allows him to travel to most countries.
There is one more language that will take Kobena Johnson far – mathematics. Once he gets his master’s degree he will have access to some great opportunities, thanks in part to the Regent’s Scholarship.
Hometown: Lome, Togo
Hobbies: Reading, Salsa Dancing, Eating Out With Friends