18-Year-Old Nigeria’s Daniel Obaji is the Youngest Ever Graduate at NYU Abu Dhabi
Daniel became the youngest student to graduate from New York University, Abu Dhabi, bagging a degree in Biology.
He was also listed among the Seven Inspiring Graduates Who Symbolize Hope for a Better World by NYU.
Daniel has also gotten a fully funded Ph.D scholarship to study biology, with a focus on computational biology.
At NYU’s 187th Mary Cowman, associate dean for Bioengineering and professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Tandon School of Engineering and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the School of Medicine, passed The University Torch to Daniel, the youngest undergraduate degree recipient in the Class of 2019 at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Watch Daniel below:
In an exclusive interview with Sahara Reporters, Daniel revealed that he completed secondary school education at the age of 14 bagging 8 As and 1 B in his West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
“My dad is from Abia State while my mum is from Edo State in Nigeria. I grew up in a small town called Igarra, the headquarters of the Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State in Nigeria. My mum is a community health worker while my dad used to be a produce buyer. I have three siblings. I have an elder sister called Amarachi and two younger brothers, Izu and Ekene. My sister is studying nursing at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital while my brothers are still in secondary school,” Daniel said.
How He Gained Admission
I enrolled for the Education USA program at the US Embassy in Abuja after I completed my secondary school education. I got access to advisory services at the US embassy. There was a mathematics teacher in our school who told me about the programme. I was in Igarra. The teacher called my parents and asked them to take me to Abuja. At Abuja, I prepared for the SAT in three months from August to October 2014.
I was living with a family friend in Abuja. I used to go to the US embassy every day to prepare and I also had a counselor there called Aunt Sade who was very passionate and kept advising me on the best places to apply. She mentored me on what to do and what scores to aim at. She gave me the information about NYU Abu Dhabi.
In January 2015, I got a call for an interview at NYU Abu Dhabi and I travelled out of Nigeria for the first time from Feb 5 to 9. On February 21, I got accepted on a full scholarship to the school.
I opted for biology because of some reasons. I wanted to study medicine but I changed my mind in my second year. Medical schools, especially in the US, are very expensive. The schools are also pretty difficult to get into, especially for international students. Getting funding is usually very difficult. I could not convince myself to go for medicine. I met some professors at NYU and saw a couple of researches which further fuelled my interest in biology. NYU was also very attractive and there are a lot of resources for students to excel. They make life easier for you.
How He Got the Ph.D Scholarship
I applied to the PhD program at NYU after reading about the school. I attended an interview with some professors in New York in February and I got the offer a couple of weeks afterwards. The professors were interested in what kind of research I had done and why I was applying to the program and why NYU specifically. The offer is a fully funded opportunity.
A lot of United States’ PhD program allow students to apply straight from undergraduates so far you are interested in a definite area of research and have some experience. When I was researching PhD and master’s programs, I was happy I didn’t have to get a master’s degree before doing a PhD. My PhD focus is computational biology. That is what I am planning to do.