Classroom Connections: VMI
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 09/13/2018
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Courtesy: Southern Conference

VMI women's soccer player Keniya Lee & Dr. Dekuwmini Mornah

About Keniya Lee:
  • Senior women's soccer player
  • 5-6 defender
  • economics and business major

About Dr. Mornah: 

  • Assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Business (Specialty: Public Choice, International Economics and Applied Econometrics)
  • Owns a BA in Economics from University of Ghana, a PhD in Economics and MA in Economics from University of Mississippi, and a Postdoctural degree in Entrepreneurship and International Business
  • In his seventh year of teaching

Keniya Lee and Dr. Mornah in Daniels Courtyard on VMI's campus

Q&A with Keniya Lee:

  •  What makes Dr. Mornah a good teacher and what do you like most about his classes? He wants his students to succeed. I took Entrepreneurship and Public Choice taught by Dr. Mornah and he is by far one of my favorite professors at VMI. In these economic classes he teaches the course by relating the topics with real potential life scenarios, tells us about his past experiences, and links class objectives with relatable situations to the students such as sports, school, or military aspects. I enjoy his classes because he keeps our class engaged, he constantly asks if we understand a topic before he moves on, he answers every question in depth, and he has intriguing life experiences within his college career and business career. For me personally, he tells stories about his African background, specifically about where he has come from and why he is where he is today. Dr. Mornah is also comical and very intriguing. He teaches his class with passion, enthusiasm, and spunk. He is very knowledgeable about different business programs at other universities, has had many different exposures in the business world, and he has given me different ideas and career paths I may want to pursue after I graduate. Dr. Mornah finds way to uplift, encourage, motivate me, and tell me that I will have a bright future and will do great things in life. He never has a problem with lending a hand in and out of school. With any situation I am facing, whether it is school or soccer related, I feel comfortable sharing my problems with him and asking for advice. He also continues to go back to Ghana every summer, running businesses and programs there to better his hometown. Dr. Mornah is a great teacher simply because he cares. His charismatic attitude and positive energy reaches out to the students, other professors, and alumni. He is a well-respected professor and leader around campus and I can imagine in other areas as well.
  • What is something you’re involved in outside of class and sports that we may not know? Dr. Mornah has inspired me to branch out more in life. I am in the process of developing programs in Richmond, Virginia with my mother for single mothers and helping kids think more about attending college. At VMI it is often very hard to volunteer because of time constraints. I made it a goal for myself to get involved as much as I can with school, so I joined several clubs and hold several leadership positions. I am involved with the Entrepreneurship club, NSBE club, Promaji club and I am also a part of the student athletic advisory council (SAAC). In Entrepreneurship club, which Dr. Mornah oversees, we work on business simulations, conduct group and individual projects, create business models, and develop networking skills. We also conduct individual interviews with entrepreneurs and alumni. In the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) we participate in leadership training, career studies, professional development activities and attend NSBE conferences. The Promaji Club is a minority organization which was founded in 1972 with the mission to raise awareness, serve the VMI community, celebrate the heritage and contributions of various minority groups, and establish mentoring relationships with VMI Alumni in their prospective professional fields. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) participates in the administrative process of athletics programs and the NCAA and we offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athlete’s lives on campus. We also volunteer in the VMI community.
  • How do you manage academics, athletics and a social life? What is your key to good time management? I have always been good with time management because I've had to multi-task between school and two sports since I was younger, but I have improved my time management skills since attending VMI. At VMI, everything is scheduled for you. There are allotted times for classes and practice, but I manage my schedule by staying on the task at hand. So, during the allotted time for class which is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I try to complete as much school work as I can before practice. Then, during practice time, we do what we can from 4-6:30 p.m. such as lift, practice, film, and rehab. For me, the key to good time management is being focused, planning out my day, and being determined.
  • What’s your favorite spot on post? My favorite spots on post are Scott Shipp Hall and Patchin Field. Most of my classes are held in Scott Shipp and it’s a safe place for me to study and do homework at night. It is my home away from barracks and where I can find alone time and peace.  I also love Patchin Field, our soccer field. I feel a certain sense of relief whenever I am on the field or with my teammates. My problems go away temporarily whenever we practice or play games. Fresh air and a soccer ball is a great stress reliever for me.
  •   What are your plans post grad? Currently, I am weighing my options of pursuing my MBA upon graduation, working for a year doing internships to get some work experience, and/or joining the reserves. 

 Q&A with Dr. Mornah:

  •   What’s it like having Keniya in your class? Keniya is a diligent, curious and a hardworking student with a great attention to detail. Her curiosity and quest for additional knowledge is evident in the depth of the questions she asks and the thought given to answers. With these attributes, she brings a very positive dynamic to class discussions. For a professor, you could not ask for more from a student.
  • What is your favorite sport or hobby? What do you like to do in your free time? I like to play soccer in my free time! I mostly coach and play with the club soccer team.
  • How often are you able to watch your student-athletes compete? Anytime I am free! This averages to about twice a month.
  • What’s your favorite spot on post? Apart from my office, I guess it would be the North Post Drill fields – that is where we play recreational and club soccer.
  • What is your favorite thing about teaching? As a teacher, I believe I am uniquely positioned to inspire, liberate and empower curious minds to dream and to channel their inner creativities to achieve beyond their initially perceived realm of possibilities. That feeling that you are contributing a part to the story of these immensely gifted young men and women is probably the best part of teaching.

About Classroom Connections: Classroom Connections is a new, bi-weekly feature that showcases student-athletes away from the playing field and highlights the relationship between student-athlete and professor. 


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