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SPAA Graduate Profile: Chukwudi Obi (BA'19)

Chukwudi Obi (BA'19)

Full Name: Chukwudi Obi
Age: 22
Hometown: East Orange, NJ
Degree Program: Bachelor of Arts 
Major: Public and Nonprofit Administration

Why did you enroll at SPAA?
Coming into Rutgers, I knew that I wanted to work in the public sector because I want to be the change. There is a saying, “Sometimes if you want to see change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.” I wanted to equip myself with knowledge of society, but I did not know how to go about pursuing a career in service. I found out about SPAA through friends, and did further research where I learned that SPAA aligned with my goals for public service.

What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
Having lived in Nigeria, I saw how bad their system was at a young age, and how people lived in poverty. I want to use my degree to bring change by creating resource centers to help those without food to eat, or a place to live. I know that alone, I cannot completely eliminate all the problems in the country, but I can start somewhere small and scale up.

Favorite SPAA memory?
My favorite SPAA moment is when a classmate and I had to study for the same finals. We booked a room in the library, and the number of people that showed up to the study session was astonishing. Some students were not even from our class, but they still came. I was not expecting such a large turnout. The way that everyone knew each other’s name, showed me that SPAA is not just a school, it is a diverse family that listens to everyone and cares about each other’s success.

Biggest challenge?
One of the biggest challenges that I faced at SPAA was finding time for my internship, job, and school. As an undergraduate student, you are required to complete an internship. That semester was my first time interning, working, and still needing to focus on school because I had 19 credits. Initially, I did not have the best time management skills so I had to remind myself of the reason I was at SPAA. That passion motivated me to work hard and improve my time management because the last thing I wanted was to burnout in college.

Next Steps?
The next step in my career is finishing my master’s degree with a concentration in healthcare management hopefully next year. Not only do I want to open resources centers, but I also want to understand how the healthcare field operates. One day I hope to possibly take my knowledge and experiences back to Nigeria to help improve their systems too.

Advice to incoming Students?
One piece of advice that I will leave the incoming students with is that your future is not set. You have time to think about what you want to do. You also have to be honest with yourself and know what you truly want. You cannot do something because you are forced to do it. One of the quotes that I live by is, “Do not stop to watch the clock, do what it does; keep going.” Even when things get hard, and you are at your lowest keep going because you are going to make it if you work hard.