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Campus Life

Susan Ojukwu ’17 to receive USAID fellowship

portrait of Susan Ojukwu.
Susan Ojukwu ’17. (submitted photo / Susan Ojukwu)

Susan Ojukwu ’17 has received a USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship, awarded to outstanding individuals interested in careers in the foreign service of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Albany, New York native is the first Rochester student or alumnus to receive this fellowship, which provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development.

“When I came across the Payne Fellowship, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to combine who I am and what I love as I prepare to enter the professional realm of global health,” she says. “I’m beyond grateful to be selected, because it aligns with my passion and is an exciting chance to jumpstart my career.”

Ojukwu received her bachelor’s degree from Rochester with dual majors in international relations and public health. Her studies have taken her to France and, with support of the Evans Lam Scholarship, also to Hong Kong and mainland China. A visit to her father’s village in Nigeria ignited her passion for the study of international health. Through Rochester’s Urban Fellows program, she gained public health experience serving as a diabetes management intern. She went on to conduct undergraduate research on strengthening health systems and food aid in West African countries.

Ojukwu works as a program assistant at the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She’ll pursue a master’s degree in public health at George Washington University this fall. Her career goals include improving healthcare delivery, building local capacity, and expanding access to the most vulnerable populations around the world as an officer in the USAID Foreign Service.


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