18-year old Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu has made history as the youngest person to graduate from Howard University this year and this also makes her one of the youngest in Howard’s history.
Nkechinyere just graduated summa cum laude from Howard University with a degree in chemical engineering and she’s starting her Ph.D. program at the University of California-Davis after summer.
She will be studying biomedical engineering with a focus on creating and discovering new medicines.
Nkechinyere told USA Today that she has always been the youngest person in her classes as she finished high school at 14, skipped 5th grade and attended an accelerated high school.
She left Nigeria for America after high school, and enrolled full-time at Howard University.
Nkechinyere credited her family’s support for her ability to cope with her new surroundings.
“I spoke to my mom almost every day on the phone — for over an hour almost every time. My dad and I talked really often too. Talking to them definitely helped sometimes when things were overwhelming. My support system was a very big part of why I was able to stay very grounded during the whole journey.”
Many of her extended family members live in U.S, including an aunt who lived not far from her dorm, and other family members in Texas and Alabama.
Advising teens like her, she said: “Don’t limit yourself because you think you can’t do it or because no one you know had done it. You can always be the exception to the rule and end up being exceptional.”