[VIDEO] Moment Kenyan med student in Lowell, MA finds out she will be moving on to residency


Noreen Chioma Okwara has always dreamed of being a doctor ever since she was a teenager growing up in Mombasa, Kenya.

She has lived through the nightmare of losing a loved one due to lack of medical care.

Her 9-year-old brother was involved in a car accident which claimed his life because he could not get the urgent medical care that he needed.

The loss of her brother changed her life and she knew from then on that she wanted to be a doctor.

“In medicine, I found a reason to keep going,” said Okwara, 27 speaking to Lowell Sun. “It was this hope that there was something I could do about it, that I could keep someone from going through what I went through. That hope is what kind of propelled me towards medicine.”

When she was 17, Okwara and her Nigerian-Kenyan family immigrated to the U.S. where she settled in Lowell.

This Summer, Okwara  who attends UMass Medical School in Worcester is due to graduate with her doctor of medicine.

Okwara has received several accolades during both her undergraduate and medical education.

She was a recipient of the Charles D. Baker II Scholarship which is a scholarship awarded on need and merit to outstanding University of Massachusetts students.

Chioma (Noreen) Okwara, SOM ’17, speaks at last year’s University of Massachusetts Medical School commencement ceremony

March 17, marked a momentous moment in her life. During the “Match Day” at UMass Medical School she learned that she will be entering residency.

She had a family member open the envelope that contained the good news. It is then that she learned that she had been placed at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston which was in her top three choices.

She was ecstatic screaming in joy.

She never thought she would get into one of the most competitive and one of the best programs in the US having applied and interviewed at 18 places throughout the country.

“I always kind of believed God leads me to the places I need to be,” Okwara said.

“I’m going to be working with some of the brightest minds in medicine,” Okwara said, noting the preparation she’s now undertaking. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to learn a lot of things, but I also know it will be challenging.”