It’s been a little more than a year since I served as a delegate to the United States Senate Youth Program. It was an awe-inspiring program that set the tone for a phenomenal year. After that incredible week, I was accepted into a variety of universities including: Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Harvard, and Princeton, and I decided to attend Princeton University. I was also one of 161 high school seniors to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Last summer I had the opportunity to participate in the book launch of “Built from the Fire” by Victor Luckerson, the story of Greenwood, Tulsa and the Tulsa Race Massacre. Participating in the launch was especially exciting after getting to work as a research assistant for the book. Seeing “Built from the Fire” noted as one of the most notable books of the year by the New York Times was extremely gratifying.

After the book launch I headed to Princeton’s campus over the summer to participate in the Freshman Scholars Institute (FSI). During the program I built strong connections with peers, studied with different departments, and learned about all of the different opportunities on campus. After the program, I was featured on Princeton’s social media through the #TellUsTigers series. I was able to share the great experience I had with FSI and my excitement for the beginning of the fall semester.

When the semester began in earnest, I was able to join a variety of student groups. To support my interests as a Pre-Med student I joined the Princeton Premedical Society along with a number of other related organizations. To continue supporting my interest in music, I joined the Princeton University Glee Club (which truly is nothing like the hit show), and the Trenton Youth Orchestra as a coach for the brass section.

During my winter break I worked with the UAB Epiphany team. The Epiphany project is a two-year investigation researching preventative lifestyle modification to prevent the development of high blood pressure (hypertension). It was an amazing experience where I gained a variety of new skills. Now, during the spring semester, I serve as a volunteer at a local hospital. This has been a similarly enlightening experience.

My brief time at Princeton has already been filled with a number of chance encounters. From NBC News Correspondent Ron Allen to Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams to retired General Mark Milley, I’ve met a number of inspiring figures. I’m so grateful for all of the support I received from my family, my friends, and my community. Having these opportunities has been unbelievable and I am doing my best to make the most out of each and every one of them. I don’t know what challenges and opportunities lie ahead of me, but I’m confident I will be able to press forward and tackle whatever is in store.