Teenagers typically get a bad rap for their couldn’t-care-less attitudes and for paying more attention to TikTok than geometry, but recently, one Alabama youngster is getting nothing but praise. And by praise, we mean college acceptances and scholarships….lots of them. Rotimi Kukoyi was accepted into over 15 top universities, and has been awarded over $2 million dollars in scholarships.
According to the Huffpost, Kukoyi got accepted into Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt and Duke university before ultimately deciding on UNC Chapel Hill. When he begins this fall, he’ll study Health Policy and Management with the assistance of the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship.
“With this scholarship, I’m able to choose the path less traveled by — the road not taken — and define my own journey,” Kukoyi wrote on Instagram. “At UNC, I hope to lay the foundations of a career driving health equity in our nation.”
You may remember this young scholar from his appearance on the Jeopardy Teen Tournament where he competed as a high school freshman in 2018. Kukoyi tells ABC News that it was during the competition that he became inspired to apply to multiple schools. He also became the first Black National Merit Scholar at his school in Hoover, Alabama.
“As a child of immigrants who came to the United States to secure a better future for themselves and their children through the American education system, I’ve always aspired to graduate from high school,” he wrote in another IG post.
“The past 13 years of hard work have paid off, and I’m incredibly optimistic for what lies ahead. I’m thankful to the close relationships that have supported me throughout this journey, and I’m excited to watch my friends continue to succeed from afar.”
In another post to his social account, Kukoyi spoke about how difficult it was to choose a school. He mentioned that deciding between the many universities he was accepted into was “the most agonizing thing I’ve ever done.” He later told ABC News that his choice to pursue medicine was inspired by the pandemic.
“COVID really sparked [my interest in public health] because that was the first time that I really saw how clear the health inequities were,” Kukoyi said. “African Americans had a much higher chance of dying from COVID than white Americans.
“It was almost like there were two separate pandemics impacting our nation, and we saw [some people] marginalized and impacted way more.”