Agoo!! (Or “Hello” in my language).

My name is Maxwell Ayeliya. I work as a Community Outreach Assistant for StepUp Utah and I want to share my experiences and advice – hopefully this will guide and inspire you on your educational journey!

I was born and raised in a little town called Navrongo in Ghana, West Africa. I came to the United States of America in 2013. I speak 5 Ghanaian dialects, I play soccer and volleyball, participate in many outdoor activities, and I enjoy reading. I love to watch sports – I am a fan of the University of Utah Utes, Denver Broncos, and Manchester United. I started my schooling at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) in 2014 where I earned my Associate of Science in business and I transferred to The University of Utah for my undergraduate Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting. I am currently completing my Master’s in Accounting at the University of Utah and I am a candidate of the CPA (Certified Public Accountants). I am a first generation student to attend college in my family and I believe getting quality education will help me be successful and provide valuable services to the community.


My first piece of advice for current or future college students is to get involved on your college campus.


At SLCC, I was part of Trio, where I benefitted from academic advising, transfer advising, constant monitoring of academic progress, free individualized tutoring, and study group opportunities. Trio helped me develop a plan for my academic success and gave me the encouragement to achieve my educational goals. I have also volunteered and served as a leader in many other students’ groups at both SLCC and the University of Utah: Black Students Union, African Student Association, Beta Alpha Psi, Opportunity Scholars, SMART Start, Community partners, and Student Life and Leadership. Joining these groups helped expand my networking and growth experiences.


My second piece of advice is to give back to the community.


When I moved to Utah, I joined two non- profit organizations: Sabu Help International and Future Scholars of Africa. With Sabu Help International, we import Ghana hand-crafted baskets and school backpacks and sell them in the United States to raise money for students back in Ghana. With Future Scholars of Africa, we raise money through fundraising events, personal contributions, and sponsorships and we use that money to give scholarships to Utah students who need help paying for college. We also provide resources, workshops, networking and mentorship for college and high school students to accomplish the career goals and objectives. When I give back to the community, I gain a sense of pride and fulfillment knowing I have helped others.


My final piece of advice to you today is no matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, keep going!


College is hard, but no one can take away the sense of accomplishment and life-long benefits your degree will give you.