Joshua Usani from Nigeria was selected the valedictorian for the 2011 graduation class of the City College of New York. After four years of pursuing admission to study medicine in Nigeria with no luck, Usani graduated ‘Summa Cum Laude’ – the top 3 percent of the graduating class at CCNY, with a GPA of 3.9 out of 4.0. Watch him tell his story in this excerpt from his graduation speech:
His dream is to be a medical doctor since watching his mother, a registered nurse administer polio vaccines to children in Nigeria. Later, he volunteered with an ambulance company in Lagos. After seeing a doctor save a life, he resolved that “If I could touch people’s lives in this very basic, yet powerful way, the satisfaction I would receive would justify all the challenges associated with the pursuit of a medical career.”
But for four years after high school graduation, he was still writing matriculation exams for admissions in Nigeria. Each year he scored higher, yet he was not granted admission. When his mother secured a job in New York as a Nurse, Usani came along and applied to CCNY where he had spent the last four years studying Biology in preparation for medical school.
In the Fall, Usani will follow his dream of becoming a physician by studying medicine at Mount Sinai University School of Medicine in New York.
Usani is one of eight students who received the Salk Scholarship, the prestigious University awards, which provide an $8,000 stipend over three or four years to help defray medical school costs, for students who are judged likely to make significant contributions to medicine and research.
Usani won a scientific award at the 2009 CSTEP Conference, and the Edmund Baermann and Meyer & Gloria Fishman awards. He also served as a chemistry workshop leader, and he is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma. He likes to play basketball, piano and soccer and he is interested in computer programming.