Amaka Okwudigbo, Student at OCU

Came to the U.S. on a student visa 8 years ago at the age of 18. She was homeless and without food.

Amaka Okwudigbo is currently a student with Oklahoma City University’s 12-month accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

story by Van Mitchell, Staff Writer

Amaka Okwudigbo endured quite a journey moving to the United States from Nigeria in pursuit of a career in the healthcare field.
She has overcome homelessness, food insecurity, and financial issues to fight for her career dreams.
She is currently a student with Oklahoma City University’s 12-month accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
“I’ve had a lot of challenges since I’ve been in the United States,” said Okwudigbo, who came to the United States eight years ago at age 18. “I’ve been homeless, and had no food, and no accommodations, but I was lucky enough to find help here at OCU. They have a food pantry and they have been really helpful with food to me. I have a place to stay. God really, really blessed me.”
Okwudigbo came to the U.S. on a student visa.
“I just needed to change my environment, and someone mentioned that I should apply for a visa to see if I can further my education here in the United States and I took the risk,” she said. “I first landed in Houston, Texas, and I graduated with an Associates of Science in Health, and then I moved to Oklahoma to further my education. I went to Rose State College, and I had two Associate’s degrees from there, one respiratory therapy and the other one programming”
Okwudigbo credits Candace Jones, her former boss (Academic Advisor) at Rose State College, for helping her secure housing.
“She’s been amazing, she gave me a roof under her house,” Okwudigbo said.
After graduating from Rose State, Okwudigbo looked to expand her educational horizons.
“When I graduated with my programming degree last December, I was looking to expand my knowledge to see other options, so I started looking for schools that could give me a Bachelor’s degree, which I could get very fast,” she said. “I looked online and I found OCU, and when I spoke to the recruiters, the advisors at the nursing program, they were really fast with responding to me and I was like, “I think this is the school that I am going to.”
OCU’s accelerated BSN program is the state of Oklahoma’s first and only 12-month accelerated BSN. The program provides an opportunity for individuals with a non-nursing associate or bachelor’s degree to earn a BSN degree in less time than a traditional baccalaureate program. This is an in-person program that consists of 56 credit hours spread over three full-time semesters during the 12-month program.
Some key features of Oklahoma City University’s 12-month accelerated BSN are:
o Program consists of 56 credit hours over 12 months
o Direct transfer of previous associate or baccalaureate degree credits
o Clinical experiences at major hospital and community sites in the Oklahoma City metro area
The program will prepare you to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN), which all prospective nurses must pass in order to be licensed in their state.
Okwudigbo worked her way through her previous schools, but was able to secure a scholarship to attend OCU. She hopes to find on-campus work to help with the rest of her school costs.
“It’s been a huge challenge, because without a job I wouldn’t be able to pay for this, but I was lucky enough to get a scholarship this first semester,” she said. “Even though the cost was a bit challenging for me, I was like, ‘I will fight for it and I will do it,’ and I am here. I am extremely proud.”
Okwudigbo credits her parents for instilling her with determination and a strong work ethic.
“I grew up in an environment where we are satisfied with the little that we have, and I’m a first generation that was going to school,” she said. “My parents are my backbone. I’m glad that they raised me the way they did.”
Okwudigbo also thanked Gina Crawford, DNP, APRN-CNP, FNP, CNE, and Dean and Associate Professor, and Dr. Janice Carr, DNP, RN, CNE, Associate Professor, for their help at OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing.
“I want to say thank you to Dean Gina Crawford and Dr. Janice Carr for their enormous support,” she said.
Okwudigbo’s goal is to join the military and work in healthcare.
“I am so eager to join either the Air Force or the Army,” she said. “This has been my goal since I was a baby, and I would love to, actually when I graduate, if by the grace of God, practice in the military.”

For more information about OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing visit