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Student Snapshot: Chinemerem Nwanze ’23

Chinemerem Nwanze ’23

Chinemerem Nwanze ’23

Chinemerem Nwanze ’23

California resident Chinemerem Nwanze ’23 has spoken Igbo since age 2, and she has been interested in deepening her understanding of the language and her culture since she was 9. She’s written a book to help other young people learn the language. The psychology/health studies major is also a Posse Scholar, Student Senate member and ACE Peer Mentor, and she conducted two civic-action internships so far, focusing on public health and environmental education.

Hometown:

Cerritos, California.

Major

Psychology, with a health studies certificate.

Clubs and organizations:

Black Student Union, ACE Peer Mentors, Residence Life, Catholic Campus Ministry and Student Senate.

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Alpha Lambda Delta, Dean’s List and Posse.

Favorite book:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

Favorite movie:

Black Panther.

Favorite class/learning experience so far:

Introduction to Computing with Lecturer in Computer Science Michael Skalak. Computer science is out of my comfort zone, so this class definitely challenged me at times. However, I am glad I took it. Professor Skalak was very approachable; the TA (Beverley Okogwu ’21) and computer-science tutors were so supportive, which made my first experience with coding enjoyable. I also liked feeling satisfied whenever I figured out the answers to coding problem sets.

Favorite place on campus:

Althouse.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Scrambled eggs.

Best thing about my major:

The best thing about my major, psychology, is that there are so many branches of it. I think this is representative of how complex the human psyche is, so I love that there is always something new to learn.

Little-known hobby/talent:

I have a growing interest in photography.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

The people I’ve met. From friends to professors to classmates, I’ve been fortunate enough be surrounded by people who are genuinely invested in me. I think Dickinson creates environments that encourage building valuable relationships—for instance, through small class sizes or the ability to have hourslong conversations in the Caf.

Proudest accomplishment so far:

Writing and publishing my book, Kwezuonu! A Beginner’s Guide to the Igbo Language.

On choosing Dickinson:

I was looking for a small school that would allow me to have personalized learning experiences. I was also drawn to Dickinson’s strong study-abroad programs. Growing up, I would always say that I would go to college on the East Coast, but I honestly never expected it to happen. So far, I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I appreciate various ways that Dickinson has expanded my worldview.

Favorite professor:

Professor of History Karl Qualls. He has been a mentor to me since I first arrived at Dickinson, and he helped me through a very trying first semester. We’ve had so many impactful conversations, and I’m also grateful that we both like to read a lot, especially because I can share whatever I am currently reading with him.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

My grandfather, because I would love the opportunity to learn more about his life.

About my internship:

This past summer, I was a Civic Action Intern with Dickinson’s Center for Civic Learning & Action (CCLA). I worked on several community-based projects—for example, the development of an environmentally conscious summer program for preteens. I also had the opportunity to contribute to projects largely focused on health. For example, I researched federally qualified health care centers, public-health outcomes in Carlisle and health-education topics, using the information I gathered to create infographics and social media posts.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

Staying determined is vital to achieving goals. Life is full of trials, rejections and unexpected events, but believing that we can push past these things helps keep us afloat. As my mom puts it, “When one door closes, look for an open window.”

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Published October 29, 2021