"I began to see what was between the world and me."

By: Anna Carmichael,  A&S Communications
January 4, 2016

Jeremiah Grant '17

Major: Africana Studies with a concentration on the Caribbean.
Hometown: Queens, NY

Why did you choose Cornell?
It just felt right. You’re looking at colleges and wondering which one would be the best fit for you. And there came a time when everyone who was entering my life had some connection to Cornell and the people I met here were just genuinely nice and willing to help people. At the same time Cornell is an Ivy League institution and one of the best of the best – I would argue that Cornell is the best – and so when I received the acceptance letter I knew this is where I belonged.
 
Why did you choose Africana Studies?
I started off as a biology major, and while studying biology I took a genetics course. We took a genetics test to find out where your ancestors were from. It gave me a result from the East Indies, and this made no sense to me, so later on I took an introductory course in Africana Studies. It was amazing to see some of my history and I wanted to learn more about it. I knew it was what I had to study. It’s self-discovery as well as education.
 
What has been your favorite class at Cornell so far and why?
Intro to Taekwondo. Taekwondo gives you structure. It teaches you self-discipline. Most people think it’s just physical, but after taking it here at Cornell, I realized there was so much more to learn about it. It’s not just physical; it goes into history and philosophy and taught me what it was like to be a team.
 
Where is your favorite study spot at Cornell?
3rd floor Uris Library.
 
What are you involved with at Cornell? Why are these activities important to you?
I’m involved with the Gates Opportunity for Academic Advancement program, which is the Gates Millennium Scholar Cornell Chapter on campus, a 10 year scholarship fully funded for undergraduate, masters and graduate students. I help students learn about internship and volunteer opportunities. It’s a group to provide resources and a home on campus. I’m a part of the Coca Cola Scholars on campus. I provide mentorship to students, volunteer and serve the community. I am a recruiter for the Future Leaders Foundation, serving the talent advisory student. We look for first generation students with academic excellence and leadership potential. I’m also a Cornell Tradition Fellow, a member of Scholars Working Ambitiously to Graduate (S.W.A.G.), the Weill Ithaca Network (W.I.N.), and the OADI Pre-Professional Program (P3). I’m a Columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun and write Gates and Ladders, which appears every other week in the Opinion section.
 
What’s your favorite Cornell memory?
It was meeting Bill Gates. It was a special memory because he is the man who gives me the funding to pursue my education. I got to thank him, which was definitely a highlight.
 
What do you value about your liberal arts education?
I truly value the mantra: “any person, any study.” What I really value is that no matter what it is that you’re interested in, it exists on campus. I have learned more about the world, classmates, community and know that no matter what my interests and passions are, there is a professor who teaches about them.
 
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?           
I see myself with with my B.A in Africana Studies from Cornell, my Ph.D in Epidemiology and Human Genetics and crafting alternative solutions to positively increase health outcomes for minority communities. I see myself researching the haplogroup diversity of people of African descent and traveling the world and understanding the cultures of diverse human populations. I see myself advocating for equal access to health data for minority patients to make educated decisions and serving as advisor to the White House's, the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health.
 
What would you like to research?
Right now, I am interested in population health in diverse, underestimated, underserved communities, globally. I want to understand how public health can work in combination with the private healthcare sector to bring about meaningful change.

Jeremiah is recognized as a Future Global Leaders Fellow, Gates Millennium Scholar, Bezos Scholar, Cornell Tradition Fellow and Coca Cola Scholar. The World Economic Forum recently named him a Global Shaper.

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