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March 2, 2011
By Najla Williams

2010 Graduate Awarded Prestigious HHMI Fellowship

WASHINGTON– The Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded Howard University alumnus Chinweike Okegbe a 2011 Gilliam Fellowship; he was one of nine fellows selected.

Recipients are awarded nearly $50,000 annually to support their graduate study for up to five years. Fellows are selected from participants of Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP). The program is aimed at increasing the diversity of college and university faculty.

Okegbe, a 2010 graduate, participated in EXROP while pursuing biology and mathematics as an undergraduate at Howard. Okegbe is now pursuing a doctoral degree in biological studies at Columbia University.

“I am glad that the Institute recognizes my potential,” Okegbe said. “This grant helps me to perform my research at a high level. This also helps to improve the representation of minorities involved in sciences.”

Okegbe is the second Howard graduate to win the fellowship. The Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study honors the legacy of the late James H. Gilliam Jr., a trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute who devoted his life to fostering excellence and diversity in education and science.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute advances scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the country and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and our fundamental understanding of biology.

The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that reflects the excitement of real research. For more information, visit

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