18-Year-Old Graduates Magna Cum Laude From Howard University, Sets Sights on Doctorate Next

WJLA screenshot
WJLA screenshot

At 18, many people are excitedly preparing for college. Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu, on the other hand, just graduated from college as a member of Howard University’s Class of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering. And she graduated magna cum laude.


According to The Hilltop, Howard’s student newspaper, Chidi-Ogbolu started her journey at age 14 and is now looking forward to her next goal, a Ph.D.

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

The brilliant graduate attended primary school in her native Nigeria from first to fourth grade before being promoted to the sixth grade. She went on to complete her high school education before entering Howard.

“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.”


According to local news station WJLA, the busy 18-year-old is also working on a book that will break down her experiences as a teen in college.

“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,” she told The Hilltop. “I didn’t find courses any more difficult than the typical college student.”


Read more at The Hilltop and WJLA.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi