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From South London to Harvard: We speak to Fiona Asiedu


FIONA ASIEDU knows how to aim high. The student who currently attends Oxford University has received mass attention for her crowdfunding campaign so she can study at Harvard – so much so that rapper Stormzy even donated £9,000 to cover the cost of tuition and expenses.

In an interview with The Voice we spoke to the ambitious student about her aspirations, family and Stormzy:

Q: Oxford and Harvard are international symbols of excellence - lots of people want those institutions on their CV but many don't have the discipline required to get the grades and then keep them. What sort of habits, qualities or rituals do you think have served you well in your academic journey so far?

A: Well I definitely think that hardwork is the most important part to achieving academically. There’s a point in your academic career that intelligence isn’t sufficient and it becomes all about working hard and practising.

Also, I think that it is so important to study things that you genuinely enjoy, because no one does well at something which they hate!

Q: Were Oxford and Harvard always part of your personal life plan?

A: No they differently weren’t! Coming from a state school background, Oxford was definitely not something that was in the picture as it was put on a pedestal which no one from a background like myself, could reach.

Harvard didn’t come into the picture until the summer of 2016. I was inspired by one of my friends who is currently there. So they both came into the picture quite late.

Q: How have your friends and family reacted to your success at each stage so far?

A: Everyone is so excited! Many of them have said that they have been ‘distracted’ from work because they cannot contain their excitement, which is all so lovely! I am happy to have brought some excitement to them and hope that they are all very proud.

Q: How was the campaign going before Stormzy made a donation?

A: The campaign was actually going really well! From Sunday evening when it was launched to Monday morning, we had raised nearly £3000 which was pretty amazing considering the timeframe.

Q: And now, what has happened after his involvement?

A: Well, it pretty much took me right to my target in 20 hours which was pretty phenomenal.

Q: What are your plans for after graduate school?

A: I don’t have a particular career that I want to do however, I know that I want to work with young people from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds, like myself, in empowering them and gaining them access to things that they would not have otherwise been able to do! Due to this, I have left the crowdfund open so that everyone who wanted to donate still has the opportunity!

All money raised above the target will be used to set up a foundation which provides bursaries for Black students from low-income families, who want to go to Oxford or Harvard! I encourage people to continue donating as this could potentially give someone the opportunity to achieve heights which they never thought would be possible!

I also want to work on programs specifically for working class and ethnic minorities which works on inspiring high ambition, motivation and high achievemen! Lastly, I would potentially like to conduct research which can be used to shape educational policy which brings the best out of individuals from the mentioned backgrounds!

To donate to Fiona's crowdfund, visit

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