#NobleIntegrity: Vanessa Anyanso ’12

Thursday, April 1, 2021

What was initially just a quick trip to Target for Vanessa Anyanso ’12 in May 2020 concluded weeks later with Anyanso, a Ph.D. student in counseling psychology at the University of Minnesota, raising more than $22,000 for supplies supporting those protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. Leaving her Minneapolis apartment, Anyanso decided to put out a call to her social networks for donations to purchase food, water, and other personal supplies for people marching in the nearby streets for justice.
“By the time I got to Target, I already had $300, and the donations just kept coming,” says Anyanso, who grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., as the child of two journalists from Nigeria. “Every time I had left my house during the pandemic, in a way I felt like I was taking my life into my own hands—and then I started thinking, because I’m Black, that’s always kind of been the case for me in America. So, I’m going to do this while I can.”
Anyanso graduated from Columbia University and spent two years as a clinical research coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation research fellowship and hosts a podcast at phdiversitypodcast.com.