By: Undria Wilson

Elena Arthur of Ghana, Rasheena Edmondson on North Carolina, and Helen Oladapo from Nigeria make up the first cohort of students to receive the school’s first Ph.D. degrees since 1964, more than a half-century! The 129th Graduate and Professional Commencement that took place on the campus of North Carolina Central University marked an important achievement both for the university and three particularly outstanding individuals.

According to, Arthur specifically researches alternative medicines to combat diabetes and investigated means to protect the pancreatic beta cells that are destroyed in patients with diabetes. Edmondson and Oladapo focused on cancer research, with Edmondson studying cellular activities, and Oladapo researching substances’ potential for cancer-fighting. All three women plan to continue their pursuit of higher education and post-graduation advocacy.

Their degrees are focused on the two tracks offered at the university Integrated Biosciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the women place special emphasis on health disparities amongst minorities.

This a major accomplishment for African Americans as well as women who do not have a high percentage in obtaining Ph.Ds in the STEM fields and on all collegiate levels.

Now this is what you call Black Girl Magic!

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