Valedictorian and Salutatorian Are Headed to MIT

  The Class of 2023 Valedictorian, Preston Ogunwumi, and Salutatorian, Nishant Lahiri, have a friendship that goes back to when they were students at Erwin Valley Elementary School. As they close a chapter in their journey at CPP High School, their connection will continue this fall at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where both will attend.

Preston and Nishant have similar interests in STEM and MIT offers an opportunity to learn at one of the world’s top engineering and technology schools. Preston said his interest in STEM increased in 6th grade, and that he was always drawn to math and chemistry. In particular, he would like to research clean energy solutions. He said a significant area of need is to increase efficiency of battery technology and he plans to research and study that at MIT. Preston will major in Materials Science and Engineering and minor in Environmental or Chemical Engineering. Outside of school he enjoys poetry, music and cycling. He is also active with his church. At CPPHS he was President of Student Council, member of Class Council, National Honor Society and the Black Culture Appreciation Coalition. Preston is also a First Heritage Credit Union Everyday Hero. He was a member of the JV and Varsity soccer teams and played travel soccer outside of school. When asked what some of the keys to his success were, he remarked that time management is essential. He said building study routines into his day was a key aspect of his success. 

Nishant will study Chemical Engineering at MIT. His national science fair project in carbon capture technology is a topic he will continue to focus on while at college. He is excited about what MIT will offer in terms of research and access to facilities and learning from those at the top of the field. As a student at CPPHS, he was a member of the Golf team and Captain of the Swim team. Outside of school he conducted cancer research at Cornell and chemical engineering research with the University of Iowa. He is a member of National Honor Society and winner of a national Science Fair award. Nishant is a Coca-Cola Scholar. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. Similar to Preston, Nishant mentioned that time management is essential to success. He added that it is never too late to change your mindset. As a freshman he said he struggled with classes, but with the help and support of some close friends and his family, he put a focus on school, academics and maintaining a positive mindset about his studies.  

We wish Preston and Nishant the best as they continue their education!