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photo of Kennedy o

Name: Kennedy O.

Hometown: O’Fallon, Missouri

Anticipated Major and Minor: Biology Major on the Pre-Med track with an English Minor

How did you discover Hopkins and why did you decide to apply Early Decision? Due to its extensive research opportunities and emphasis on inter-disciplinary study, Hopkins had been on my short list for a long time, but once I visited campus last spring, it immediately became my top choice. I felt so at home there, and I fell even more in love the more I learned about Hopkins. I knew it was the place for me, so I applied Early Decision, which was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

Who is the most influential person in your life? My mother.

Is there a quote or motto that inspires you? What is it and what does it mean to you? My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 43:13, which says, “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” I love this verse because it reminds me how omnipotent my God is and how He promises to care for me, which is super comforting in times when I doubt myself or face particularly hard days with my anxiety disorder.

How has your family background or life experiences shaped you? My grandfather was from Nigeria, and my African heritage plays a huge part in the person I am today. I’m so proud of my culture, and I think my multiracial background allows me to take special delight in celebrating diversity and history.

What’s your best piece of college search advice for high school students? It’s okay not to know exactly what you want to do or where you want to go! Take the time to explore everywhere and find what college feels like home. The college search process can be daunting, but it’s also fun and exciting, so fully immerse yourself in it and make the most of this special time.

What fictional character do you most relate to or most closely represents you as a person? I’m a lot like Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. Other than the fact that we’re members of the same House (Ravenclaw for life!), we share several similarities because we’re both super quirky and fiercely loyal to our friends. Also, I have a very strong sense of justice like Luna, and I’m really imaginative and have faith in things I can’t see.

What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of? Last semester, I worked with teachers and counselors at my school to rewrite our health curriculum so that it now places more emphasis on the importance of mental health. As a part of this new curriculum, I get to come talk to all of the health classes and share my story of dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, letting students know that it’s okay to talk about mental health and telling them about the many resources available for help. I’m really proud that I’m able to use some really difficult experiences from a dark time in my life to help others. Several students have come and talked to me after my presentation and told me that I inspired them and gave them the courage to get help with some of their own struggles, and I feel very blessed to have been able to make a difference in others’ lives.

What are you most excited for about college and/or coming to Hopkins? I can’t wait to meet all of my classmates! I’m looking forward to getting to know some really cool people, combining our unique interests and talents as we collaborate to positively impact the world. College is going to be like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I can’t wait to learn so many new things and form lasting relationships with the amazing people I know I’ll meet.

What crazy invention would you love to design? I want to make a bookshelf that works like a vending machine. That way, all I’d need to do was type in the title I wanted, and the book would come out. No more struggling to find the one book I want amidst the millions of others in my bookshelf!

What do you hope to get involved in on campus? I’m definitely going to play Quidditch! Also, I’d like to join in some Christian groups, and I’m interested in getting involved in community outreach programs, especially ones involving children because I LOVE kids!

If you could get ice cream with one person (real or imaginary; dead or alive), who would it be and what kind of ice cream would you get? I would love to take Demi Lovato out for ice cream and eat Neopolitan ice cream with her (Neopolitan’s the best because you can have a little bit of everything!).

Complete this sentence: “I would not be here on this journey to Hopkins if it weren’t for ________________.” My mission trips to Haiti. That’s where I fell in love with the beautiful community of Fond Blanc and the precious children who live at the orphanage there. An eight-year-old boy fell asleep in my arms, and when I looked down at his peaceful frame, I was overcome with a passion to use my skills and interests to become a doctor and serve children like that little boy. My experiences in Haiti have inspired me to dream big and work hard to reach my goals.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Hopefully, I’ll be Dr. Kennedy Onuoha, and I’ll be in on my way to getting a specialty in emergency medicine. Also, I’ll hopefully have two amazing dogs: a lovable, active Australian shepherd named Maximum (I’ll call him Max) and an adorable, snuggly Maltese named Minimum (I’ll call her Minnie). My dogs and I are going to be happily working hard and playing hard, and there might even be a sweet little child in my life!

What are you most excited to do in Baltimore? Find a new favorite food!