Nkechinyere Sharon Chidi-Ogbolu, 18-year old former student of West African International School in Bakau has received a PhD scholarship from University of Carlifornia – Davis. On Saturday 13 May, Nkechi graduated from Howard University with a bachelors degree in chemical engineering.
“I feel good, proud and thankful, and I’m so excited for the next step – PhD,” Chidi-Ogbolu said. She said with dedication, perseverance and focus, age should never be a hindrance for anyone to achieve their dream in life.
“I never felt learning was age-related. If you were taught the material and you’re serious about learning, you’ll be fine – regardless of your age. I didn’t find courses any more difficult than the typical college student,” she added.
In a phone conversation with The Standard correspondent, Nkechi’s mother, Oluwakemi Ayodeji, said Nkechi was offered the PhD scholarship when she was there as an intern a year-and-a-half ago. Within her short stay at the university, she was able to prove to her supervisors and other faculty lecturers that she had far grown up academically and morally beyond her age.
She said that her daughter and her siblings are “divine blessings” to her. “They are all blessed with exceptional talents. And as the eldest child of the Chidi-Ogbolu’s family, she has been a very good role model to her younger ones, Onyinyechukwu and Chimdi”.
Nkhechi attended a primary school in Nigeria from first to fourth grade and was promoted to the sixth grade. She later joined West African International School, a 7th to 11th grade British education system located in The Gambia, at age 9, and graduated with distinction at the age of 14 in 2013. And with her exceptional grades in Cambridge IGCSE and SAT, Nkechi got full scholarship to study chemical engineering at Howard University.
“Nkechinyere, within the time she spent with me at West African International School The Gambia, proved to not only me but all her teachers and schoolmates that she is divinely multi-talented. Apart from being academically exceptional, Nkechi is a very good debater, public speaker and singer,” said Nkechi’s high school English language teacher, Mr Olawuyi Mutiu.
Nkechi is set to start her doctoral degree program in biomedical engineering at California University this fall. She said the school’s doctoral programme will be more beneficial for her career since it is a research-based programme.
Her interest in medical research pushed her to opt for biomedical engineering, which she said would help to achieve the dream of working and studying the behind-the-scenes functions of the healthcare industry – as her major concern is to contribute significantly in the alleviation of most dangerous illnesses in her home country – Nigeria.
“I want to help fix illnesses like Ebola and other diseases – major or minor. I want to help people in Nigeria,” she said.