John Okhiulu is currently pursuing two degrees from Stanford University: one in African and African American Studies and one in Human Biology. Born and raised in Oakcliff (a large, low-income area in Dallas, Texas), John has faced some of the challenges growing up in a relatively resource-poor setting. In school, at the doctor’s office, at home, John felt the pressure of the walls that surrounded his life. Money was often tight, and the stressors lead to abusive situations and tensions at home. Fortunately, he didn’t have to face these challenges alone. He credits his parents for instilling in him the values of God, resilience, and service. It was their unending efforts to keep John and his three brothers on track, with clothes on their backs and food on the table. Looking back on some of the difficulties John and his family had to face, that so many others from his neighborhood and from neighborhoods across this country had to face as a result of their social standing, John became inspired to focus on the health and psychosocial development within marginalized communities in school.
John aspires to attend medical school after graduation. John is attracted to studying health because he sees it as a crossroads of his various passions. As a doctor in family medicine, he’ll be learning new and innovative methods of healing while also intimately learning about the issues faced by those most marginalized in society. He plans to use his experiences to inform a career impacting healthcare and health policy and advocating for Global health equity.
Acting, digital photography, and music are a few of John’s hobbies he enjoys outside of his schoolwork. John first took up acting as a freshman in college but he remembers the years and years of acting out imaginary worlds with his brothers, whose imaginations would run wild back when time and imagination was all they had. They’d run through the yard big as giants, brave as lions, light as fairies, fierce as wolves, getting into plenty of trouble along the way. John appreciates the opportunity to use his gifts on stage to bring stories to life, through theatre performance, and through song. Extracurricularly, John is also the co-president of the Stanford Nigerian Students Association, and a member of the development team of The Phoenix Scholars program – a student-founded and student-run non-profit based as Stanford dedicated to bridging the gap in access to higher education by providing college counseling services and mentorship to disadvantaged students in California.