Nigerian student in the USA enters Ph.D. program at 18

Nkechinyere Sharon Chidi-Ogbolu, 18 years old recent graduate of Chemical Engineering at Howard University, has received a PhD scholarship from University of Carlifornia – Davis.

“I feel good, proud and thankful, and I’m so excited for the next step – PhD,” Chidi-Ogbolu said.

She believes that with dedication, perseverance and focus age should never be a hindrance for anyone to achieve their dreams 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 MRC correspondent sometimes ago, Nkechi’s mother, Oluwakemi Ayodeji, said Nkechi was offered PhD scholarship at University of California when she was there as an intern a 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 has 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 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-fourth grade and was promoted to the sixth grade. She later joined West African International school, a 7th-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.

“One other thing I noticed about her is that she is blessed with concerned and caring parents – most especially her mum. She took care of Nkechi like her life assets. She was fond of constantly visiting the school to ensure her child received proper and adequate academic and moral information from her teachers. And she daily made sure she never slept until she reviewed her child’s learning activities at school and confirmed that Nkechi’s homework were independently and properly done. Likewise, words of encouragement and motivational packages never stopped coming from her dad,” he added.

Nkechi is set to start her doctoral degree program in biomedical engineering at California University this fall. She believes the school’s doctoral program will be more beneficial for her career since it is a research-based program.

Her interest in medical research pushed her to opt for biomedical engineering, which she believes 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.


Nkechi and her siblings in Nigeria


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