The William Floyd School District recently caught up with Kwasi Enin (William Floyd High School Class of 2014), the former William Floyd wunderkind and current Yale junior who made worldwide news in 2014 when he was accepted to all eight Ivy League schools – Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, U. Penn, Princeton, Dartmouth and Brown – quite possibly (and likely) the first ever feat of this kind. His inspiring story was first featured on the cover of the April 1, 2014 edition of USA Today followed by a whirlwind of coverage by hundreds of outlets around the world including Newsday, CNN, the BBC, CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News, Good Day NY, and more. Enin also had the opportunity to deliver the “top 10” list on the Late Show with David Letterman.
It’s been three years since the story of you being accepted to all 8 Ivy League schools became worldwide news. How does it make you feel knowing that your achievement has inspired others to attempt this feat?
It’s been pretty amazing to see that I’ve inspired new generations of high schoolers to aspire higher than they might have before my story came out. As you know, I really did not enjoy the spotlight placed on me, mostly because of the newfound burden of expectation everyone has for me. But, the reason I stuck through it and the reason I am happy today that I made that decision, was so that students like Harold Ekeh, Victor Agbafe, and others, could get the opportunities that I now have.
You are about to finish your third year at Yale. Please tell us about your time there? What have you been involved in? How are your classes going? Experiences? Travel abroad? Major/minor? Etc.
It’s been a little whirlwind of a time! I’m a Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) major at Yale. I’ve taken various courses such as Psych Stats, Cell Biology, Microbiology, General/Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, etc., etc., related to my major and overall have done a good job. That’s not to say I always have though, since the beginning of Yale was a bumpy transition into the new level of academic rigor. Otherwise, I’ve also gotten involved in pre-medical affairs. I was a research assistant to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Unit as well as the Cardiology Department of the Yale School of Medicine, where I studied how exercise affected hyper cardiomyopathy and Long QT syndrome. Last summer after sophomore year, I got to lead my first independent biology research under a professor in my major’s department. I studied how stem cells differentiate in planarians, also known as flatworms, because these worms – at less than an inch long – can regrow completely from being cut down as small as 1/300th of their size! I’ve been an active member of the Yale Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, the nation’s oldest collegiate underclassmen all male a cappella group, as well as the Yale Glee Club, the oldest collegiate choir in the nation. Between these groups, I’ve gotten to travel to 25 states, Costa Rica, and Moscow without using a cent of my own money! In addition, I spent the summer after freshman year learning French in Paris for five weeks, and visited Provins, Lyon, and Amsterdam in addition to experiencing some of the coolest places (and more importantly, food) Paris had to offer.
So what’s next?
Now, I’ll be taking next year off of classes at Yale to sing with the Yale Whiffenpoofs of 2018! They’re the first a cappella group in the country (maybe the world?), and they’ll promise me travel to 25-30 countries next summer, and lots of domestic and South American travel during the academic calendar year. I hope to get the group to perform on some news channels or radio stations, and I’ve already confirmed that we’ll be singing for the President and Secretary of Ghana next summer in July. Otherwise, I’ll be studying for the MCAT this summer while working for a New Haven-based tech start up called Resume Gem as a marketing intern. As soon as I come back for the 2018-2019 academic year, I’ll be applying to medical school so wish me luck!
What are your plans/hopes after you graduate from Yale?
My main goal that I’ve had ever since I was young is to become a physician and hopefully still be happy along the way! I’ve also taken an interest in health care policy and biotechnology, so I could potentially also get a relevant master’s degree in Public Health or Business Administration to better understand the scope of these two areas. And you know, get married, have kids, and live the whole domestic life aesthetic somewhere warm.
What advice or words of encouragement would you give to current William Floyd students?
The underdog can win! I know going to Floyd can [sometimes] make students feel as though they aren’t good enough for the world beyond its doors, but we do get an excellent education. Our AP and Honors teachers are amazing and have so much to offer you in terms of learning and support. It’s also important to expand your horizons beyond our towns, and probably beyond our good ol’ Long Island and maybe the state! I am ever so glad to have become exposed to cultures I didn’t think I would ever experience while in high school. The world is too large for the potential in each of you to go wasted, so start volunteering in the community, work hard for your mind, body, skills and your grades, and try to step into cultures you haven’t experienced before. You are capable!