International Scholarship Recipient Finds Home at Widener
Widener University is a friendly place where students feel like they have a second home. This year the Pride extended that welcome to a Nigerian student through a new scholarship program designed to highlight Widener’s commitment to international student inclusivity.
Chiamaka Oduah made history as the university’s inaugural recipient of the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship when she traveled from her African nation to begin studies as a freshman. Widener, through the program, has aided her educational experience with financial support. The university joined with 56 U.S. colleges and universities in offering renewable scholarships for international students through the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign first announced in 2018.
Oduah chose to major in biomedical engineering – one of Widener’s strongest programs – for very personal reasons. Her father died in Nigeria in March after experiencing a sickness that was never properly or fully diagnosed because of inadequate care. She does not want other Nigerian families to experience similar pain and sadness.
“I am hoping to use my degree to make a positive impact on the health system at home in Nigeria,” she said.
Oduah had always planned to study outside her home country and wanted to come to the United States. She applied to Widener and after learning about the opportunity for the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship, applied for that too.
It gave me the impression that international students are always welcome, as the name implies. That was the drive to apply for the program in the first place and then the drive to go to Widener once I got it. — Chiamaka Oduah
Oduah lives on campus and has gotten involved in student life, serving as secretary of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Her mother remains at home in Nigeria, but visits periodically, and she has a brother who is pursuing a degree elsewhere in the Philadelphia region.
Executive Director of Admissions Courtney Kelly said the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship was designed to help bridge divides across nations and cultures through international academic experiences. Widener was one of just five institutions in Pennsylvania that pledged its support when the program was first announced in 2018. The campaign seeks to ensure international students at U.S. universities and colleges feel welcome in the United States.
“We are so pleased to have Chiamaka at Widener, and see her expanding her education with help from this scholarship. International students are valued members of our vibrant community and we hope Widener’s participation in this scholarship campaign shares the message that they are welcome here,” Kelly said.