Nigerian student emerges The New York College Valedictorian for class of 2016 - Flatimes

Friday, 20 May 2016

Nigerian student emerges The New York College Valedictorian for class of 2016

Nigerian student, Eunice Udensi, from Abia State, has emerged the valedictorian for York College’s Class of 2016.

Eunice, a Pharmaceutical Science major mentored in the Chemistry department, came to York four years ago and quickly acclimated to a busy college life of research and co-curricular activities.

Eunice, a Pharmaceutical Science major had an impressive GPA early on, which caught the attention of Amy Wolfe in the Academic Advisement Center, and then led to tutoring jobs in the Mathematics lab and Academic Achievement Center.

She was told by Steven Tyson, the then-director of the Academic Achievement Center that with her grades she could become valedictorian of her class.

Eunice who didn’t know what valedictorian meant at the time, went to to search for it and came across Tony Wan’s TV interview when he was York’s valedictorian in 2012. It immediately sealed her commitment.

According to her, “I didn’t know about things to apply for, but Dr. Tyson motivated me to apply for internships and came in on a Sunday to do a recommendation letter for me. He motivated me to apply for all these opportunities”.

According to the institution’s website, the opportunities Eunice applied for included a research internship at Stony Brook University; a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute internship and a dizzying list of awards received through York.

She also received the Prof. Eugene Levin Scholarship for Excellence in Science and Paid Summer Internship; became a member of the Honors Program, Wells Fargo Scholar, and Mildred Cooper Scholar; and made the Dean’s List throughout her four years at York (2012-2016) and Sigma Alpha Pi 2014-2016.

At Stony Brook, Eunice researched on “Neuronal Type Specific Gene Therapy: Engineering Novel Cell Tropism in AAV”.

“I synthesized adeno-associated virus (AAV), which is specific to Trk A receptor and carries the gene responsible for the production of acetylcholine. Neuronal gene therapy with AAV, if feasible, will open doors for a lot of improvement in gene therapy for Alzheimer disease patients,” she explained.

Her research presentations at York have included, “As Certain as Day Turns to Night,” which highlights the experiments done by Heisenberg, Schrodinger’s Cat and the mathematical derivation of Schrodinger’s Equation; and “Zinc Fingers,” at the Natural Science presentation.

“Our students have the ability to do well, they just need someone to believe in them and give them opportunities,” said Dr. Tyson.

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