Some 7,440 miles separate Portland, Oregon from Accra, Ghana. Although home is halfway across the world, Nancy Nartey, a student in the University of Oregon's Sports Product Management Program’s class of 2021, has embraced the city of Portland and the opportunity to enhance her career and life goals.
Nartey has a strong interest in solving problems by creating solutions that can benefit her community. After graduating from Kwame Nkrumah’ University in Kumasi, Ghana with a degree in development planning, she took on roles as a teaching assistant and an educational consultant. Thanks to her skills in development and her passion for people, Nartey’s impact reached across the entire community. Her work was appreciated and celebrated by many, yet she knew she was capable of having an even greater impact.
So why choose the Sports Product Management master’s program in Portland, Oregon?
After her father’s passing, Nartey’s supervisor, Martin S. Yeboah, quickly became her career mentor and father figure. He understood her motivation to improve the community around her. He also understood her core passion: soccer.
Since she could remember, soccer meant everything to Nartey. Her mentor’s understanding of both this passion and her devotion to community development led him to discover and recommend the Sports Product Management Program.
“I wanted to combine my passion for sport with my ability to problem solve,” Nartey said. She believed that the program would help her answer the question she asked herself daily: “How can I apply my knowledge and skills to raise awareness of opportunities in Africa?”
“When I observe the state of sport in Ghana, [I see] opportunities to revive sports that kids used to love growing up,” she said.
Through the Sports Product Management Program, and with the support of generous donors to SPM's scholarship fund, Nartey aims to learn and apply the concepts of ideation, innovation, and iteration that will one day allow her to inspire a revival of those sports.
“Through the innovation of sport products and smart products, athletes in Africa will be better. Leveling the playing field for all people in my African community to participate in sports will come with the ability to make change through innovation,” she said.
Each day presents a new challenge for Nartey as an international student in an unfamiliar place. These challenges, however, only validate her sense of purpose. She knows that when she returns home, she will fulfill her dream of improving and advancing awareness of sport in Africa with her products.
Her advice to other international students considering the program: “If you have the means to make it work, do not hesitate to take that opportunity.”
—Jacob Bullock, Sports Product Management Class of 2021