Faith (Pre-medical Track, Bates College)

Faith has a habit of taking challenges and turning them into strengths. When she was new to this country, about 11 years ago, a teacher asked her class who was an American. “My hand shot up in the air with such force that I almost fell,” she recalled. But the teacher informed her that no, she was not an American. She then went to work to eliminate all traces of Nigerian accent from her speech. But she has not lost a key part of her identity. “I am blessed and proud to be a Nigerian American,” she said. “I have gained so much from both cultures, they have made me who I am.” Another challenge was dyslexia. One of her teachers at the Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens recalled her need for extra time to take a Regents test — and that she earned the highest score in the school. He went on to praise her “incredible stack of accomplishments,” including taking six AP courses and four college courses, as well as being active in school organizations. Her next school is Bates College, where she won early admission. There she intends to continue with two of her interests by taking an active part in the debate program and the chorus. Her eventual aim is to be a pediatrician, a goal informed in part by her experience as a hospital volunteer assisting with translations in both Igbo and American Sign Language.