Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

On the Right Track: Christian Nwofor

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

On the Right Track: Christian Nwofor

Article excerpt

Institution: Oberlin College

Year: Senior

Cumulative GPA: 3.8

Fall '99 GPA: 3.6

Major: Biochemistry

Sport: Track and Field

Years of training and competition typically prepare a young athlete for college-level sports. Rarely does the athlete who takes up a new sport in college become almost immediately competitive. Oberlin College senior Christiana Nwofor can count herself among that rare breed of athlete whose talent, dedication and intelligence has made up for years of inexperience. Just two and a halfyears ago, Nwofor, then a sophomore at Oberlin, took up track and field to become a sprinter. Over the past three seasons, including the one currently under way, Nwofor won recognition twice as an all-star in the National College Athletic Association's Division III conference in which she competes.

"She has developed into one of our premier sprinters and as a very effective team leader," says Tom Mulligan, coach of the Oberlin women's track and field team.

That Nwofor is a top-notch student and researcher helps explain her drive and steely determination to succeed at the challenges she tackles.

"I really work hard," she says. Her achievements in the classroom as a biochemistry major have won her admission to the Harvard University Medical School, where she will enroll in the fall of 2000. As a junior, Nwofor was inducted into Oberlin's Phi Beta Kappa chapter for her academic achievements.

The child of Nigerian parents, Nwofor grew up in the French-speaking, West African nation of the Ivory Coast. Although her schools provided her with rigorous academic preparation, they lacked American-style sports programs, which emphasize interschool competition.

"[My wife and I] were very concerned that track and field would interfere with her studies. But we saw that she was really enjoying herself, and she continued to do well academically," says Emmanuel Nwofor, Christiana's father and a banker with the African Development Bank in the Ivory Coast.

Dr. Norman Craig, an Oberlin chemistry professor, credits Nwofor with having the skills and the aptitude that would make her an excellent physician and science researcher. "She has good experimental skills and learns quickly," he says.

Nwofor worked as a researcher under Craig during the summer after her sophomore year. She will receive co-authorship credit with Craig for an article to be published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry by the end of the year.

"The research was sponsored by a National Science Foundation grant that I hold, and I decide on which students I believe are strong researchers to assist me," Craig says, noting that Oberlin faculty have only undergraduates available to help them in research. …

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