The MIT grad building Nigeria's first STEM campus

Story highlights

  • American-raised Nigerian to build Africa's first STEM campus of its kind
  • After MIT, Obinna Ukwuani decided to follow his dreams of opening school
  • He's taking many risks, but long-term he hopes to make a difference

(CNN)Most graduates of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston have their choice of six-figure-salary jobs after graduation.

But for one graduate, a different calling has meant he's sacrificed a comfortable life and taken a big risk to follow his dream: to open Africa's first STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) campus in Nigeria.
    Nigerian-American Obinna Ukwuani, who grew up in Washington D.C., went back to Nigeria for eighth and ninth grades as his family felt it was important for him to know his roots. He had a revelation when he returned during his freshman year at MIT.
    "I met up with my peers, the friends and classmates I'd met during my time there and it was shocking to see how far behind me they were. It was a very real experience for me," says Ukwuani. The edge, he realized, was due to his schooling in the United States. The imbalance he recognized, he says, "was an injustice."
    "In the U.S., if you work hard, you'll be fine in this life. So I had that moment where I knew I wanted to improve things in Nigeria."