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Akina Nichols

High School: Salem High School 

Intended Major: Chemistry and Psychology 

Possible Career: Psychiatrist 

Words: Determined, caring, fun-loving, out-going, intelligent  

What impact do you want to have on the world?

Throughout my eight-teen years I have noticed in particular two problems that I would hope to address in society, diversity ignorance and the dangers of untreated mental disorders. With that said I would like to impact the world by starting a non-profit organization for diversity training and exposure to combat the issue of diversity ignorance. I would also like to have a career in psychiatry to help people find ways to manage their mental disorder and keep them safe. 

Name a person you admire.

I truly admire my parents. My parents aren't perfect but they have always been the backbone of our family and have always been able to provide in every aspect. They have raised five beautiful children together while being married for over the last 20 years. They have taken in other people in their time of need and always tries to help people in anyway they can. For me, they have always been the love and support I needed in times of trouble and in my greatest moments. 

What is something you are proud of in your life so far?

I am proud to say that I graduated top of my high school class and was the first graduate to attend Swarthmore College from Salem High School. 

What have been the most valuable Evans Scholars program experiences for you?

So far the most valuable Evans Scholars program experience was meeting all the new people through the Evans Scholars network, whether it was other students, admins, faculty, etc. The Evans Scholars program also is making it possible for me to get my non-profit organization up and going. 

What was the most transformative class you have taken and/or what subjects do you want to explore deeply?

As an International Baccalaureate (IB) student one intricate part of the curriculum is completing internal assessments. I have either written, performed, or created several different IAs for all my classes. The most exciting and personally inspiring IA was my Chemistry IA in my chemistry class. I had to create an experiment to answer a research question of my choosing, and for my chemistry IA I decided to quantitatively determine the amount of caffeine in different popular caffeinated beverages. As an IB student, and a rising college student, I have realized the need and desire many of my peers and classmates have for caffeine to keep them awake. I, myself, have had an instance or two where I needed to finish an assignment and needed an extra boost to stay awake. Through the years, I have often noticed that coffee makes me even sleepier, while an energy drink has kept me awake for close to thirty hours. I started thinking that we need to be able, as consumers, to measure the amount of caffeine in some of the most popular caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, soda, and energy drinks. In the process of my experiment, I hit some obstacles, one being that my school did not own the required equipment needed to test my samples. My amazing chemistry teacher, Ms. Jakub-Cerro was able to set up a time and place for me to use a GENESYS™ 10S UV-Vis Spectrophotometer. I had the opportunity to travel to Rowan University to work in a college lab with a professor and my teacher to test my samples. Through completing my Internal Assessment for Higher Level Chemistry and working in the lab at Rowan, I realized that I could see myself continuing my education in chemistry and making it a part of my future career.