Uche Umolu ’17 is one of 67 international students at Wagner in the spring of 2015, but you could say that she counts for more than one, in terms of bringing cultural diversity to the campus. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, but at age 13 she moved to Leeds, England, and then to London to attend boarding school for the remainder of her pre-college education.
Then, she says, she wanted to “try something different.” A big fan of Sex and the City, she applied to several colleges in New York. When she came to enroll at Wagner in August of 2013, it was her very first time in the United States.
A contributor to Wagner’s HawkTalk student-generated blog, she has explained what all of her diverse experiences have brought to her life: “In between moving from country to country and changing schools, I have met a lot of different people. People with different languages, different beliefs, different values and even religions. At first it was a struggle for me, because I was raised in a certain way and took on most of my parents’ values, including their political opinions. As time went on I changed, which was pretty much the greatest thing that could have happened to me. As a result, I have friends and acquaintances from different walks of life, and it has helped shape me into the person that I am today.”
Who is that person?
Clearly, Umolu is someone who doesn’t know a stranger — she’s outgoing and curious and outspoken. She is an avid fan of Wagner football and basketball — sports that are completely new to her; she does promotional work for the Black Student Union; and she’s a collector of friends from all walks of life.
She’s also someone with a clear-cut set of interests — politics and feminism topping that list. Her “ultimate life goal,” she says, is “to start up an NGO in Nigeria that advocates for the rights of women.” For the past year, she has served as an intern for the advocacy organization Take the Lead Women. She is a government and politics major, with a minor in gender studies.
At the same time, she has enjoyed her general education requirements at Wagner, which have expanded her interests and views on previously spurned fields such as art history, philosophy, and acting. “Most of these classes tend not to have anything to do with my major,” she writes. “The experience … gained from each class has always been helpful. Most especially in the practical sense.”
Read more: wagner.edu/hawktalk.