Meet the 18 year-old African who graduated Magna Cum Laude, now enters Ph.D. program


While the average student may start college at 18-years-old, Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu is anything but your average teen.

The Nigerian girl has graduated from Howard University with distinction – She is already looking forward to starting her PhD – She wants to help find cures for major diseases such as Ebola 18-year-old Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu is the textbook definition of precocity.

According to Howard’s paper The Hilltop, Chidi-Ogbolu was raised in Nigeria and skipped fifth grade in the primary school she attended in that country.

She graduated from the British school system where the highest level of education was the 11th grade, and then went on to start at Howard at the tender 14-years-old after studying for the SAT in Nigeria. She has now completed her undergrad journey with top honors.

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“I feel good, proud and thankful, and I’m so excited for the next step,” Chidi-Ogbolu told the student news site.

“Typically, students graduate high school in Nigeria at age 16,” she explained. “I graduated high school and entered Howard at age 14.

“I didn’t think graduating at 18 was a big deal,” she added. “But when everyone else said they were proud of me, I felt emotional to get recognition from so many people.”
Chidi-Ogbolu will continue her education at the University of California, Davis, where she will be studying biomedical engineering.

With her doctorate, she hopes to work in medical research and study how the health care industry operates behind the scenes.

She told The Hilltop that she hopes the program will help her gain the skills and knowledge necessary to alleviate illnesses in her home country.

“I want to help fix illnesses like Ebola and other diseases—major or minor,” she said. “I want to help people in Nigeria.”

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Now that she has her degree, Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu is heading to California to get her Ph.D. at UC Davis.

“What do you think your keys to success were? I think I just had a really good support system,” said Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu.

“Time is priority. You want your child to do well, you want them to finish well. Why not?” said Kemi Chidi-Ogbolu.

Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu is now working on a book that will break down her experience as a teen in college.