Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna of Elmont Memorial High School (201102)
Credit: Elmont Memorial High School photo

A Black Long Island high school student receiving offers from all eight Ivy League schools has finally made her choice.

Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna of Elmont Memorial High School announced this week she plans to attend Harvard University in the fall. The school was one of 12 she applied to and gained admission to. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she said her background was a factor in why she chose the school.

“I was really captivated by the strong Nigerian presence there,” she said. “Those values have cultivated me into the person I am today, so that was a strong factor in my decision.”

She made headlines in April after news broke of her acceptance to the schools. She was also accepted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and New York University.

“My parents have always taught me the value of hard work, and I am very thankful for that,” she said. “My teachers at Elmont Memorial have also played a major role in my development. Elmont Memorial is a very special place, where teachers start their days at 7 a.m. and leave very late in the evening. It is a school where teachers love children and are dedicated to academic achievement.”

Along with being accepted to all eight Ivies, her 101.64 GPA made her the high school’s valedictorian, and she was a finalist at the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search for her research on cement that could help prevent underwater oil rigs from rupturing. Uwamanzu-Nna recently met President Barack Obama at the White House Science Fair.

With a passion for science, she has interests in biochemistry and environmental studies and did an internship at New York University’s engineering school at the age of 16. Uwamanzu-Nna was also accepted into a Columbia University lab research program.

“Though I was born here in America, I visited Nigeria many times,” she said in one televised interview. “And I’ve seen that my cousins don’t have the same opportunities that I have. So definitely, whatever I do, I want to make sure that it has an impact on Nigeria.”

Uwamanzu-Nna is the second student from Elmont High School to be accepted to all eight Ivies. Black student Harold Ekeh was the first in 2015. He decided to attend Yale University.

“Having two students get accepted into all eight Ivy League institutions in back-to-back years is humbling but also speaks to the incredible commitment to children by the families and staff within the EMHS community,” Kevin Dougherty, Elmont Memorial High School principal, said.