Both Chioma Anaemejeh and Chisomnazu Nwigwe graduated Essex County College in 2017 with Highest Honors and Associate degrees in Biology, Pre-Medicine. With medical futures in sight, both young women continue to excel as Rutgers University-Newark Biology major students.
“My sister (Ngozi Anaemejeh) graduated from Essex in 2015 and is now in medical school; she is definitely an inspiration for me,” said Chioma, who is looking at a career as a cardiologist.
Chisomnazu credits both family and friends as inspiration for her to pursue a career as either a cardiologist or a doctor of internal medicine.
While at Essex, Chioma was selected for the All USA-New Jersey Community College Academic Team. She was an active member in both the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Student Government Association, serving as Vice President.
Chisomnazu was also an active member of Phi Theta Kappa along with the American Chemical Society. Both were also popular math tutors. At the time, Chisomnazu said she enjoys helping her fellow students. “And it also helps me overall in my classes,” she added.
The aspiring doctors agree that coming to Essex first (they are both from Nigeria) was a very smart move.
“Starting at Essex established a strong foundation for me and helped me discover my goals and mission,” said Chioma. “Growing up I wanted to be a teacher,” said the now 20-year-old. “But as I enjoyed difference experiences, and with my sister serving as an inspiration, I put things into perspective and chose a different career path. If I didn’t come to Essex first, I probably would in a different situation.”
Chisomnazu, 22, said, “I was shy when I started at Essex. But then as I met my professors, joined clubs and attended events, I became much more confident. I truly believe my Essex experiences have enabled me to also excel when I transferred to Rutgers.” She also said she was able to complete her major prerequisites at Essex, which has helped. “This semester, all my classes are in my major.”
At Rutgers, Chioma and Chisomnazu remain active on campus. They are part of the Honors Living-Learning Community. Chioma, of Belleville, is also a community services office for the Organization of African Students as well as an orientation peer leader.
A Maplewood resident, Chisomnazu is secretary for the Organization of African Students and is active in student government, serving as an at-large senator for the Student Government Association.
In addition, both spent part of the summer participating in the International Leadership Exchange Program in Tanzania with other Rutgers-Newark students installing solar suitcases in local schools. “The experiences I gained Tanzania was life-changing because it made me more appreciative of what I have and never to take anything for granted,” said Chisomnazu.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to travel to Tanzania and that experience is something that I will forever carry with me to impact my generation positively,” said Chioma.
As they move closer to medical school, Chioma and Chisomnazu know they can look practically next door from their Rutgers campus and see where they started their highly successful college careers.