Born and raised in abject poverty in Tarkwa Breman, a small village in the Western Region of Ghana, Shadrack wouldn’t let anything come between him and his dreams. As the son of a peasant farmer and charcoal seller, he had two options; become a farmer or start a family. Education was secondary.

However, he broke away from tradition and chose education. With the aid of scholarships and self-support from street jobs, Shadrack was able to graduate from Opoku Ware School, Kumasi, Ghana in 2011 in General Science and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA with a Biology degree in 2015.

At the University of Pennsylvania, he was one of five students in his graduating class who was awarded the prestigious President’s Engagement Prize to establish a school for girls and medical clinic in his village. Shadrack aspires to career in medicine and endeavors to advocate for, and serve medically underserved communities.

I’ve been at Penn since 1983 and have worked with lots of undergraduates and graduates over those years, but Shadrack stands out… He is just electrifying. He is so articulate about what he wanted to accomplish, and it’s more than just, ‘I’m going to save the world.’ He really thinks deeply about these things and he knows how to implement them.

– Prof. (Dr.) Harvey Rubin, Professor of Medicine, Computer Science and Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Service & Advocacy

Shadrack’s experiences with infectious diseases in the village and on the streets led him to establish Students for A Healthy Africa (SAHA), one of the continent’s largest student-health movements. SAHA has so far provided free health insurance for HIV/AIDS orphans in Ghana and constructed a health clinic and potable water well in two communities in rural Nigeria.

A firm believer in the immense potential of women in Africa’s development, he also co-founded the African Research Academies for Women, which aim to bridge the wide gap between male and female scientists on the continent through annual summer research institutes for college women in Ghana and Nigeria.

As a way of giving back, he also started a club at his high school that has assisted about 18 needy but brilliant students gain acceptances at elite U.S universities on full scholarships. Recently, he also founded and leads Cocoa360, which will be establishing a medical clinic and school for girls in rural Ghana.

These initiatives have merited numerous awards and recognition, including a prize from the United Nations and multiple invitations to meet former President Bill Clinton and other world leaders at the annual Clinton Global Initiative. In August 2013, he was awarded the Discovering Youth Leadership Fellowship from the Commonwealth Secretariat, for his excellent work on youth involvement in improving Africa’s healthcare. Frimpong was later appointed an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society in January 2015.

In my 12 years here at University of Pennsylvania, I've rarely seen a student with the kind of drive, clarity of purpose and ability to help others that Shadrack possesses… He’s an agent of change in the making… Rarely have I met someone who is invested in leading by doing and leads by example… There is under-appreciation for how phenomenal he is.

– Prof. (Dr.) Roy Hamilton, Professor of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine


With faith in God, Shadrack also aspires to become one of Africa’s finest physician-scientists. As a University Scholar at Penn, he researched HIV latency as well as adherence to HIV therapy by adolescents in rural Botswana. He has worked with world-renowned scientists in Switzerland to decipher the kinetics of retrovirus expression. In recognition of his research contributions, he has been nominated for, and awarded multiple research fellowships including those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC).

In summer 2013, he was 1 of just 25 students worldwide out of about 1500 applicants, to be awarded an all-expense paid fellowship to conduct scientific research at the internationally renowned École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Shadrack was the first student from the University of Pennsylvania to be selected for this prestigious fellowship since the program’s inception.

In August 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Government of Botswana and the University of Pennsylvania appointed Shadrack to work with Prof. Robert Gross, and train locally based Botswana HIV researchers.

(He is) a rare individual, a matrix combination of self responsibility, strong work ethic, self reliance and the ability to ask for support when he needs it, I find it rare in an individual of his age.

– Dr. Tanya Jung, College Advisor, University of Pennsylvania


Shadrack is a friend, a listener at heart who loves to sing and is a member of a Ghanaian Church Choir in West Philadelphia. In college, he sang with the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir. He loves to mentor and be mentored and consequently served as a Teaching Assistant of the Pipeline Program at Penn’s Medical School, and advised prospective and accepted students as a member of the university’s College Cognoscenti.

He's kind of fearless.

– Prof. (Dr.) Larry Gladney, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor for Faculty Excellence and Associate Dean for Natural Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

Shadrack Frimpong is inspirational... He’s going to make a revolutionary difference.

– Prof. (Dr.) Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania

Shadrack credits his life solely to God. He remains indebted to his family, friends as well as his many mentors for their continual unwavering support.

Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.