Connection Key to Student Success

UMKC student leader works to create community change
Portrait of Chiekezie Anikwe

Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Chiekezie Anikwe
Anticipated graduation year: Spring 2023
UMKC degree program: B.S. biology, pre-medical emphasis
President African Students’ Association, secretary Men of Color
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Chiekezie Anikwe chose UMKC because it is close to home, which is convenient and helped him keep expenses in check. He also likes taking advantage of being in the heart of Kansas City. His pre-med program is challenging, but he finds time to connect with friends through his involvement - and leadership - in extracurricular activities.

Why did you choose your field of study?

I have been surrounded by family members who were in the healthcare field all my life, so I grew to appreciate and love the different types of service that they provided for the community.  I was always interested in the different stories and experiences they shared with me.  With this field of study, I hope to be able to help people who are disadvantaged and play my part to make change in my community.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

One of the main things I learned in college was how to push myself harder. Transitioning from high school to college, I learned that I had to put in more work to be successful. Also, I learned that it is okay to ask for help. That wasn’t always easy for me. I always thought I could do things on my own or figure it out myself. We all need help sometimes.

How has your college program inspired you?

The program is full of a lot of hard-working people from professors to students, who in turn push you to do the best that you can.

What are the benefits of the program?

A main benefit of the program are the resources that they provide to help us do well. The professors are really helpful in making sure we understand what we are being taught. And my Supplemental Instruction (SI) study group helps me look at the content in a different way. Sometimes in class something may not make sense, but when I can talk to a fellow student about it at SI, I understand it.

What are the challenges of the program?

The classes are really tough, but they are interesting. With proper study habits, hard work and time management skills it is definitely possible to do well.

Another challenge with the program is not seeing more people who look like me. There is a huge need for more African American people in healthcare.

Is this why you became involved in the African Students’ Association and the Men of Color?

I love the African Students' Association and Men of Color because of how we are able to create a space where Africans and men of color can be comfortable to be their true selves. The African Student Association is my home. I became a member my freshman year and everyone was so friendly and inclusive. There were a lot of seniors on the board, and I thought, “Maybe I could help.” I became vice president my sophomore year in the midst of Covid-19. I’m president this year and I’ve had so much help from my team in boosting membership.

Who/What do you admire most at UMKC and why?

The thing I admire about UMKC is that it is full of inspirational people who are very determined to be successful in their own respective fields. There are many people at UMKC who are making change, and these are the people I admire the most. Roland Hemmings (assistant director, Multicultural Student Affairs and Men of Color staff advisor) has been a great mentor.

Do you have any scholarships? What do they mean to you?

I received the Chancellor’s Award. It means a lot to me just because it helps take a bit of the burden of tuition off.


What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your professional career?

I plan to take the work ethic and time management skills that I developed during my time at UMKC to further my professional career.

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