A selfie of Ama Koranteng with her cat.
Ama Koranteng with her cat Cleo.

“The STEM field has always emphasized analytical thinking, I find myself constantly asking ‘why’ and continually trying new things,” said Ama Koranteng, first year computer science PhD student. The strategy-based gamer said playing games was like solving puzzles. To learn more about Koranteng, check out this brief Q&A.

Where are you from?

My parents are from Ghana and immigrated to the states before I was born. I grew up in Orange County in Southern California and went to high school in a small suburb in Central Ohio.

When did you first discover the STEM field?

When I was younger, I enjoyed playing video games. I always felt like I was solving puzzles when playing them. One of my favorite games to play was “Pokémon.” As I got older, I started playing more strategy-based games. Playing video games informally introduced me to the world of problem-solving.

Why did you choose to attend Hopkins?
I am interested in theory and saw that Hopkins was a good fit. I was also interested in the research of Mike Dinitz, associate professor of computer science, who is my adviser.

What are your research interests?

My research interest is in graph algorithms. I enjoy learning and thinking about problems on graphs largely due to how seemingly simple yet powerful graphs are as a data structure.

What are some extra-curricular activities that you have been doing to maintain during the pandemic?

I’ve wanted a cat for years and adopted one a few months ago. I enjoy time with her.

This new normal has also allowed me more time for introspection. Recently, I have reflected on why there aren’t more people of color in field of theoretical computer science. I have never met another Black woman in theoretical computer science, even though I know Black women exist in the field. But I also realize that just because no one looks like me in the field, doesn’t mean that I don’t belong.

Koranteng obtained her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2020.