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Meet Our Students: Esohe Irabor, Far From Home

Class: Sophomore
Major: Biology

Esohe Irabor is a native of Washington, D.C. When asked why she chose Rhode Island College, she says, “I like to call it a happy accident.”

A life of travel and a career as a doctor has always been on the 19-year-old’s wish list. Opting for an out-of-state college with a premed program fulfilled both ambitions. Moreover, she said, RIC has an agreement with Brown University’s medical school wherein RIC students may be recommended as early decision candidates for Brown’s medical program. It seemed like a perfect plan of action. Yet, even the best-laid plans can go awry.

Toward the end of her first semester, Irabor faced a financial crisis. She had run out of funds to pay for her second semester. She contemplated moving back to D.C. to attend a cheaper in-state school, but Lloyd Matsumoto, professor of biology, gave her a reason to stay.

“First he checked my academic profile to make sure I was worth fighting for,” she said. Irabor entered RIC as an honors student having graduated third in her class in high school, with a GPA of 3.98. As a freshman at RIC, she was inducted into the 3.50 Society for academic excellence and was made a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also became a member of the Gold Key Society, serving as a host and ambassador for the college. Irabor was worth fighting for.

Upon Matsumoto’s recommendations, she was awarded a merit-based Presidential Scholarship that pays a minimum of $2,000 per year for up to four years of study and a STEM Scholarship that offers up to $5,000 per year.

“I’m very grateful to Dr. Matsumoto,” she said, “and I feel fortunate to have come in contact with so many other RIC faculty and staff who are as concerned about my well being as they are about my education. That’s not something you find everywhere.”

Irabor’s plans for medical school at Brown have also changed. She said she’d now like to complete her biology degree at RIC and apply to Johns Hopkins University when she graduates. There are times, she said, when she gets lonely for her parents, who are natives of Nigeria: “My parents are the greatest influences in my life. Though they are far away, I find that I conduct myself as if they were only a block away.” Home, she has discovered, is something you carry with you.

Page last updated: November 25, 2013