Life’s been quite a journey for Emmanuel Ohuabunwa. When he was 13, Ohuabunwa and his family moved from Nigeria to the United States. The transition was far from easy — the worst kids actively bullied him for being African; the well-meaning but ignorant ones asked him if he had lived in a mud hut. But, according to Ohuabunwa, the difficulties were worth it: Last month, the neuroscience major (and psychology minor) graduated at the top of his class with a 3.98 GPA, making him the first black male valedictorian ever at Johns Hopkins.
“My experience during that year gave me a thick skin. I learned to stand for what I thought was right even when the opposition seemed insurmountable. I also learned to look at the positive in all situations,” Ohuabunwa says. That resilience has served him well — four years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded him a full scholarship to study at the university of his choice, and Ohuabunwa chose Johns Hopkins. The prestige doesn’t stop there — next year, Ohuabunwa heads to Yale University Medical School on full scholarship.
His ultimate goal is to return to Nigeria to help shape its health policy. “Nigerian hospitals lack the infrastructure required to compete with major hospitals around the world. It would be an honour to one day contribute to this transformation that is necessary for improvements in Nigeria’s health care sector,” he told CP-Africa.
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