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Student Spotlight: Daniel Abia

Image of Daniel wearing black jacket and white shirt

By Irena Garic

Where are you from or where did you grow up?

I grew up around Miami, but my family is originally from Nigeria, so most of my family is still over there. Please note that I’m specifically from South Florida / Miami, not Florida. South Floridians don’t claim the rest of Florida so that’s an important distinction to make.

What made you decide to attend Northwestern University?

When I was in high school, I was actually a really big theatre kid, and I wanted to go to a school where I could still do performances. I’d heard of The Dolphin Show and figured NU could be a place where I could still perform and enjoy my hobbies and passions while still enjoying academics. I never did end up doing the Dolphin Show, but I found other groups on campus to perform with. When I was still relevant, I danced with Fusion Dance Company, Refresh Dance Crew, and Northwestern Bhangra!

What has been your favorite Chemistry class?

I have to say, advanced organic chemistry with Professor Thomson was a lot of fun. It was essentially Breaking Bad: featuring the Diels Alder reaction. The number of transformations we got to learn in class was extraordinarily helpful. It made reading Chemistry papers much more straightforward.  

Is there a professor that has made an impact on your academic career?

Professor Kasey Evans was my first-year seminar professor, and she really set the tone for how Northwestern was going to be, in a good way!

What has been the highlight of your academic career thus far? 

I worked for a couple years in the Wasielewski Group and I did a lot of interesting research with my mentor, Jacob Olshansky. I’d say the research I was able to do and all that I was able to learn was the highlight of my academic career.

Where do you hope to be in your career in the next 10 years?

In this economy, I just hope to be employed. And making a salary that can support a grown man and possibly a cat. 

What is the first thing you will do after COVID-19 pandemic is over?

The first thing I’ll probably do is go clothes shopping. Because of COVID-19, all fitting rooms in clothing stores have been closed, and so every time I’ve gone shopping since March, it’s been a tossup of whether or not the items I have just bought will fit my awkwardly proportioned body or not and frankly, I’m tired of playing that guessing game. So, I’ll probably go buy myself a nice outfit, and then wear it to go visit my family. And hopefully they’ll say something like “Oh that fits you nicely!” To which I will respond with this anecdote pinpointing my grievances against the pandemic for forcing me to get poorly fitting clothes.

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