Stanley S. Chibueze

Hometown: Anambra, Nigeria
Undergrad: Vanderbilt University
Major: Neurosciences

Stanley Chibueze’s path to medical school began with a life-threatening illness. While he was finishing secondary school in Nigeria in 2006, he contracted cerebral malaria and fell into a coma. His treatment and recovery sparked a desire to become a physician and improve the medical system in his country.

After working in Nigeria for several years to help put his siblings through school, Chibueze made his way to North Texas and eventually Nashville, Tenn., where he earned a bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University. Though he planned to attend medical school close to family in Texas, he visited WashU on a lark during Second Look Weekend.

“That trip changed my mind,” he said. “From the get-go, I noticed the people here are down to earth and super smart. These amazing clinicians and researchers seemed very open to interacting with students and connecting them to resources.”

“I want to play a bigger role in improving health-care access for people who really need it.”

A scholarship offer made it possible for Chibueze to come to WashU, and his time here has exceeded all expectations, he said. Backed by another scholarship from the university’s Olin Business School, he took a year off from medical studies and recently completed coursework for an MBA. He leveraged skills gained through the program to advance a health-care startup he helped found in 2018 that provides clinical and diagnostic services in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

“In addition to being a doctor, I want to play a bigger role in improving health-care access for people who really need it,” Chibueze said. “To do that, I needed other skills to help me understand the business side of health care. Scholarships have allowed me to get those skills.”

Scholarships also have opened doors to other experiences, including research with otolaryngology faculty members and a role as co-leader of the student team working on the medical school’s accreditation review process.

“Before coming here, I didn’t understand the concept of giving back to an institution that had supported you financially, intellectually and emotionally. I do now. I am so grateful to those who make it possible for WashU to offer scholarships, and I want to pay it forward in the future.”

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