Great Grads - Joshua Usani
BS, BiologyAs a young child in his native Nigeria, Joshua Usani watched his mother, a registered nurse, and her colleagues administer polio vaccines. That first sparked his interest in medicine. Later, he volunteered with an ambulance company in Lagos. After seeing a doctor save a life, he "resolved that if I could touch people's lives in this very basic, yet powerful way, the satisfaction I would receive would justify all the challenges associated with the pursuit of a medical career."
A resident of the Bronx who once worked at a McDonald's restaurant in Harlem to help pay his way, Joshua has been selected valedictorian of The City College of New York Class of 2011. After graduation, he will follow his dream of becoming a physician by studying medicine at Mount Sinai University School of Medicine.
As a biology major, Joshua worked in City College's molecular immunology research lab under the direction of Professor Jerry Guyden. His research project, which sought to understand how the immune system attacks the body in autoimmune diseases and to develop treatments, made him one of three CCNY students to receive the prestigious Salk Scholarship. In his project, he used a confocal microscope to identify the distribution of lysosomes in specialized epithelial cells in the thymus. These thymic "nurse" cells are crucial in T-cell development.
"The most amazing aspect of my experience at City College is the people that I have interacted with, from amazing classmates to professors that are personally invested in your success," he said. "This incredible resource got me through rough times and placed me in a great position to achieve my goals."
In addition to the Salk Scholarship, he won a scientific award at the 2009 CSTEP Conference, and the Edmund Baermann and Meyer & Gloria Fishman awards. He also served as a chemistry workshop leader and is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma. He likes to play basketball, piano and soccer and is interested in computer programming.
"The most amazing aspect of my experience at City College is the people that I have interacted with, from amazing classmates to professors that are personally invested in your success."
- Joshua Usani