Gloria Uduehi, a Tennessee Tech University freshman studying psychology, with minors in biology and chemistry, has set her sights on working in the fields of pediatrics and child psychology when she graduates. However, her love of pediatrics started long before she ever stepped foot on campus.
“When I was a child, I would often exaggerate my pains of like a headache, which could probably be cured with Ibuprofen, and just have a meltdown so my parents would take me to the hospital,” she remembers with a laugh. “But the times that it was medically necessary for me to go to the hospital, I did enjoy the scenery around me and how the doctors and the nurses were, wanting to make sure that I felt better and I was at 100 percent.”
Uduehi has lived in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee, and also spent her high school years in Nigeria. Her family is Nigerian and wanted her to have the experience of learning first-hand about her culture.
“I think it has made me who I am today,” she said. “I look at opportunities differently. I look at conversations with people differently. I cherish things more and am more appreciative of what I have, because I'm looking at friends who are begging and praying to be in the position that I am.
“I know my roots; I know my culture and I embrace it everywhere I go.”
Uduehi has found community at Tennessee Tech, especially in the organizations that she has joined on campus. She is a member of Reaching Achievement & Committed to Excellence (RACE), as well as Women of Worth. The former brings together African-American students supporting each other in their academic goals, while the latter focuses on uplifting women and discussing their specific challenges in a university setting. Uduehi feels like having resources like these has helped her immensely in her college career, especially as a minority student.
“I think the advice I have for minorities coming to Tech is: Don’t limit your potential or your dreams based on what you see right now in your present moment. Take a second to learn what's around you, what's available,” she said. “Seek people who can help you actively do that. There are so many resources on campus to help you to where you need to be. There are so many clubs or organizations that are catered to people like you. There is a slot for you to fit in or find people in your community to make your college experience better.”
She thanks her professors, as well as Robert Owens, Tech’s chief diversity officer; and Charria Campbell, Tech’s director of multicultural affairs, for their guidance and willingness to help her succeed.
“I think if you come to Tech, it's the right decision. You can't go wrong,” Uduehi said. “You're going to spend four years of your life that you can never take back, and so it's worth you doing it well and finding people who can help you do it well. Embrace the community. Take advantage of the things around you and just end each day with gratitude.”