When you support Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholarships, you help create a pathway of success for high-achieving students like Sabastine Udeme ’19.
Sabastine Udeme grew up in Nigeria as the oldest of eight children. He had visions of becoming a doctor from the time he was very young, and his recent Syracuse University graduation-at age 31-brought him one step closer to that dream. “It means the whole world to me to be a college graduate,” he says. “I am the first in my family to have a degree, and I have been pursuing it for 15 years.”
His journey has not been an easy one. “My major challenge was financial,” he explains. “In Nigeria, one is bestowed the duty of taking care of one’s younger siblings. So while putting myself through college, I was also paying for high school and college for my siblings. My most difficult times at Syracuse were several occasions when I had a financial hold on my student account.”
OTHC provides a lifeline
After earning an associate degree from the Mandl School of the College of Allied Health in New York City, Udeme applied to Syracuse and was accepted with two major scholarships. “Since my original scholarships were not enough to cover my whole tuition, I had to work 40 or more hours most weeks to make up my monthly payments,” he says. A lifeline came when he was named the first recipient of the Our Time Has Come Alpha Phi Alpha Delta Zeta Endowed Scholarship, awarded through the Office of Multicultural Advancement. “I am grateful to this great organization for setting up this scholarship for students like myself,” he says. “After combining this with my other scholarships, I was able to attend school debt-free during the last academic year.”
A biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Udeme distinguished himself when he presented at the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program’s (CSTEP) statewide yearly student conference in Bolton Landing, New York. “My poster presentation was about my research, ‘The Effect of Polyploidy on Plant-Pathogen Interactions.’” His mentor for the presentation was Kari Segraves, an associate professor of biology.
Udeme’s professional goals have humanitarian roots. “My long-term goal is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon,” he explains. “I want to revolutionize medicine and healthcare in Nigeria and other developing countries by building world-class hospitals and medical schools to train doctors in the American standard.”
Even when he grew discouraged or felt isolated, Udeme remained focused on his goals. “Don’t give up; hang in there,” he advises others who experience roadblocks. “Talk to an advisor about your problems. Rise from the deepest of trenches and shine on the darkest of days. You’ll be glad you held on.”
Gratitude for the help he’s received at Syracuse University motivates Udeme to want to “pay it forward” for others. “I believe in helping others achieve their own goals, so I will be giving back in time and resources to the programs sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Advancement,” he asserts. “My best memories of my time here are when I was walking down campus roads with a smile on my face and thinking how blessed I am to attend Syracuse University.”
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Meet today’s OTHC scholars and view scholar stories below.