Nigerian COSAM Student Plans to Bring Education Benefits Back Home
Auburn University student Daniel Udochi is a long way from his home of Lagos, Nigeria, but he’s hoping his College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) education will eventually benefit his home country.
Daniel’s high school education was focused on the British curriculum, so many of his classmates sought further education in the United Kingdom, but Daniel and his brother, John, focused on the United States.
Daniel’s first trip to the U.S. was to visit his uncle in Georgia, which led him to visit schools nearby such as Auburn University.
“It was just an amazing atmosphere,” Daniel said. “The small-town community gave us a nice feeling. It reminded us of our community at home.”
Daniel said what solidified his decision to attend school at Auburn was how much his Mom loved the town, and attending his brother’s Camp War Eagle program.
“I saw the traditions, I saw the people, I saw the classes and I thought this would be a good place for me to be … not just because my brother’s here, but I want to be a part of this family,” he said.
Daniel started school at Auburn in 2015 and originally planned to study aeronautical engineering because he wanted to be a pilot. He soon decided he was more interested in science and decided to obtain a microbiology degree. Daniel will graduate in May and is currently applying to medical schools with plans to become an Otolaryngologist (an ENT surgeon).
During his time at Auburn, Daniel has served as a Peer Advisor and a COSAM Leader.
“Both of them are amazing,” Daniel said. “Being a Peer Advisor allows me to talk with people and see their concerns and see how best I can address it. It has enhanced my communication skills and my social skills. Being a COSAM Leader has taught me how to be a professional and how to keep a high level of conduct and character everywhere I go because I am a representative of the College of Sciences and Math. Both of them are very important to me and a very important aspect of my college experience.”
Daniel is also the on-campus public relations secretary of the Auburn University American Red Cross Club, is polymentarian of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Student Chapter (MAPS), and is an associate member of Alpha Epsilon Delta. He is also a member of Auburn First Baptist Church.
“My faith has been a strong core of my time at Auburn,” he said.
Daniel recently won the COSAM T-shirt design contest. He said his motivation was that he wanted to make an impact during his time at COSAM.
“As a Peer Advisor I learned that you can be a member of COSAM, not just by going to biology, chemistry or physics classes, you can actually participate and be of value,” he said. “I thought the T-shirt contest would be a great way to do that. I still get congratulations messages from students and faculty. I’m so glad that they like it.”
After medical school, Daniel plans to train in the U.S., but hopes to eventually bring his skills back to Nigeria.
“My motive is that wherever there is a need, I’m hoping to be able to meet it,” he said. “Growing up, I saw the need back home, so that’s my driving point. There are needs here, too, and there are needs around the world and I don’t think someone should be closed off to it. So, I’m open to helping wherever I can to the best of my ability.”
Daniel said that being a student in COSAM has also taught him resilience, perseverance and to strive for excellence.
“In most of the classes that I’m in, we look at case studies or cross-examine people who have made wonderful and tremendous contributions to the world of science,” he said. “To be surrounded by those kind of people, or just to learn about them, I think it’s very humbling and inspiring. Now I have perspective on what I want to do and hopefully I can make a difference like they did and contribute to the world of science. It’s generally been an exciting experience to be a COSAM student.”