He plans to pursue a career in public health!
A former "Teen Jeopardy"! contestant was accepted into 15 colleges and earned over two million dollars in scholarship offers, Good Morning America (GMA) reports.
Rotimi Kukoyi is a high school senior from Hoover, Alabama. There, he is also the first Black National Merit Scholar, excelling in school at a young age. When Rotimi was just a freshman, he appeared on television in the “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament. After meeting other high-achieving students from across the nation, he aimed to set his sights high and apply to a number of reputable colleges when it was time, just like the ones his peers on Jeopardy were attending.
“It was [a] really fun experience but also put me in contact with some pretty cool students from across the country. A lot of them are older and they’re like seniors or juniors that applied to many prestigious schools [and] a lot of them are attending prestigious universities now. So that was kind of my original inspiration to apply to those universities,” Rotimi recalled.
When he became a senior, the teen made good on his promise to himself, applying to a variety of different colleges, getting accepted to 15 in total including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Emory, Rice, Johns Hopkins, Duke, UAB, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn University and Washington University in St. Louis. Rotimi was awarded more than two million dollars in scholarship offers and has decided to attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall.
Rotimi has accepted the university’s Morehead-Cain Scholarship, one of the oldest merit scholarships in the country. He has also declared his intention to pursue a career in public health, Rotimi saying he was inspired to pursue that field as a result of the pandemic.
“COVID really sparked [my interest in public health] because that was the first time that I really saw how clear the health inequities were. African Americans had a much higher chance of dying from COVID than white Americans…It was almost like there were two separate pandemics impacting our nation, and we saw [some people] marginalized and impacted way more,” said Rotimi.
The teen hopes his story inspires others to apply to bigger schools, educating students on the extensive financial aid that competitive schools offer in comparison to state schools. As the only Black male student in all of his courses, he also plans to continue championing diversity and pushing for underrepresented communities and lower-income students to receive equitable learning opportunities.
The child of immigrants, Rotimi plans to reach for the stars. It is his goal to leave a legacy that’s all about giving back to others.
“I want my legacy to be one that’s focused on impacting other people. I suppose a lot of people in the pursuit of their own goals can kind of forget what it's all about,” said Rotimi.
You're already off to a great start, Rotimi! We're wishing you all the best in your future endeavors.
Photo Courtesy of Rotimi Kukoyi/GMA