XASS: Welcome! Tell me where you’re from and what you think you’re gonna major in.
Osose: I’m from Jackson, Mississippi and I would like to major in computer science.
XASS: Awesome! Going from Mississippi to Stanford is not an obvious journey. Why did you come West? What drew you out here?
Osose: Actually, that’s a funny story. So, when I was younger my dad got me a book about black women in politics. I guess he picked a random one, because as a kid, I would always watch the news. So, I have this book and there’s this black politician. Her name was Condoleeza Rice. She was a Secretary of State during the Bush administration. I read the book after my dad forced me to, since I was only eight years old and not yet a fan of nonfiction reading; however, I ended up really liking the book.
I really identified with her. Like, she grew up in the South as well, and she had an impressive story, and she was also the Provost of Stanford for a couple of years and now she’s the Director of the Hoover Institution. As a young girl, I really latched on to her story, and right then and there, I decided that I wanted to go to Stanford. I distinctly remember telling my dad, “I want to go there; that’s what I want to do.” And coming from Nigeria, at the time, he didn’t really know much about Stanford; however, he supported me wholeheartedly. And from then on, that’s what I was talking about.
XASS: Were you raised in a churchgoing family? And how did you plug into Chi Alpha in the first place?
Osose: I grew up in a Christian household. My parents actually met in a Christian fellowship group while in college. Therefore, faith has always been a big part of their life, and by extension, my life. Growing up, we always went to church. I actually was introduced to Chi Alpha through an alum named Femi, who actually grew up in MS and is the son of one of my dad’s friends. He’s married now, and his children are very beautiful…
XASS: Yeah, they are.
Osose: Yes. I went over to their house around Christmas time, before the pandemic and he and his wife talked to me about how I was feeling about my Stanford acceptance and anything I was curious about regarding school. I asked about Christian community on campus and he referred me to Chi Alpha. He said that he really liked the community and that it was a really great experience. So, I decided to check it out, and I really liked it! That’s basically my story with how I got into Chi Alpha.
XASS: Outstanding! Do you have a favorite verse or passage in the Bible?
Osose: I do! Two, actually. My favorite is Matthew 6:25, “Do not worry about anything. See how your Father clothes the flowers of the field and takes care of the birds, how much more will not take care of you?” Especially since we are His children. I really find that comforting, especially because, like, I have a tendency to worry about things and get overstressed. I’m trying not to do that as much, and so I like reading that verse when I feel stressed or I’m trying to micromanage things that I shouldn’t be micromanaging.
Another passage that I really like is Psalm 126 because when I was in 11th grade, I was just really going through it. A lot of things were happening and I wasn’t feeling great all the time, and that passage is all about returning to Zion from exile and how, although people were sowing with tears, pain, and suffering, when the harvest came, all of that pain and sadness was turned into joy and laughter. And the people exclaimed “look at what God has done for us!” They were jubilant in describing how God had favor with them – and that’s my middle name, Favour – so I really, really like the passage and it’s a place in the Bible that I come back to a lot.
XASS: Very cool! So far has your experience at Stanford been neutral for your faith, positive for your faith, or a challenge for your faith?
Osose: A challenge, I think, but not in a negative way. I think my main focus point is time management and making sure that I’m prioritizing what I want to be prioritizing. Because when there’s so many things going on, like all the emails advertising different events to go to, all these different classes to take, etc, it’s super easy to lose track of what I want to be spending my time doing. I want to make sure that I use my time to emphasize the things that are actually important, if that makes sense.
XASS: It does.
Osose: Time management is definitely a big thing that I’m still working on, specifically continually asking myself how can I honor God with my time? Yeah, I think that’s probably the biggest thing.
XASS: Do you have any nonacademic hobbies or passions?
Osose: Yes, I like watching movies! I like watching movies a lot. Nostalgic movies, circa 2000, like Legally Blonde, Mean Girls, and High School Musical. I love rewatching movies I saw growing up, which includes a lot of Disney stuff.
XASS: If I knew you better is there something that else I would have thought to ask you about?
Osose: Probably. I lived in Trinidad for a bit when I was younger. It was about a year. The way my parents immigrated to America we ended up staying there for a year and we visited when I was a little older.
Another thing that not many people know about me is that I started a foundation when I was in high school related to pediatric oncology and access to health care. It bothered me how children in different countries, and even in parts of the United States, face barriers to accessing treatment based on their ability to pay. So, in order to try to do something about the issue, I raised $10,000 for the foundation and went on a mission trip back to Nigeria and used the money to donate chemotherapy medicine to a teaching hospital in Benin.
XASS: That’s amazing! Usually when someone starts a foundation to raise a lot of money in high school it’s because they’ve got a personal connection, like a close friend of theirs was diagnosed with the disease, or someone in your family. Was there some personal trigger for you to raise money for pediatric oncology?
Osose: It’s actually quite a bit of a story. For the longest time, I’ve always been interested in medicine and always wanted to become a doctor, specifically an oncologist. That interest stemmed from my parents being in the medical field and also from doing a variety of different projects related to aging and cancer in middle and high school. So, from there my interest in pediatric oncology was sparked, and I started to do more research and realized that in a variety of places around the world, especially in places with inadequate health care infrastructure, access to healthcare and by extension, ability to live, is almost solely based on ability to pay, which is disgustingly unjust, especially in the case of children. I love kids, and at my church back home I worked as a Sunday school teacher, and I was around kids a lot. And when I think about kids in those types of difficult situations, it is so, so upsetting because children have their whole lives ahead of them.
They’re so full of life that to have that potential snuffed out because of something as ridiculous as not being able to pay for a certain treatment is something that deeply irritated me. I couldn’t do much to change the unjust nature of global health care systems, since I was only in high school, but I knew that I could help with my time and by galvanizing people to open their pocketbooks and donate to a worthy cause.
XASS: Tremendous! What a great answer. Okay, then it’s now time for our final question. The classic Chi Alpha spotlight series question: Osose, are you in a relationship?
Osose: Oh no, I’m not in any relationship at the moment.
XASS: And are you happily not in a relationship, are you open to a relationship or are you seeking a relationship?
Osose: I’m open to anything, but I’m just taking it easy at the moment, and focusing on building good friendships.
XASS: Osose, thank you for your time!