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UCS senior is top national student in HOSA challenge

Chika with awardsA Utica Community Schools senior is the top U.S. student in an international competition that tested her knowledge on psychology and mental health. 

Chika Nwoke, who attends the Gene L. Klida Utica Academy for International Studies, earned a second-place finish in the Behavioral Health Knowledge test in this summer’s HOSA International Leadership Conference. 

Nwoke was the only U.S. student to earn a medal in this competition as first place was captured by a Canadian student and third place went to a student from China. 

"Chika's second place finish was a culmination of all her hard work throughout the year,” said HOSA advisor and GLK-UAIS teacher Rachael Kasperek. “She puts in so much time and effort to schoolwork and extra curriculars. Her success being recognized on this scale was well earned and much deserved." 

The Behavioral Science competition challenges students on their knowledge and skills surrounding psychology, the mind, mental health and substance use disorders. The event consisted of a 100-question written test in a 90-minute time limit. 

“I like the competition because of how independent you have to be to succeed,” Nwoke said.  “It takes motivation to study because you have other responsibilities to attend to. This is something you have to want to take the time to do. I feel proud because I studied a lot for the event and I showed improvement over last year.” 

Nwoke has been a four-year member of the GLK-UAIS HOSA club – one of two clubs related to the medical field in the program. 

She plans to pursue a medical career after she graduates this June. It is a field she said GLK-UAIS has positioned her for success. 

“The teachers here have helped enrich my desire to learn more,” she said. “They present material in class in an engaging way.” 

Nwoke is one of two GLK-UAIS students to qualify for the HOSA International Conference in Dallas this past June after earning a first-place finish at a state regional competition. 

2023 GLK-UAIS graduate Anton Akroush earned a Top 10 mention in the Medical Law and Ethics knowledge test event. 

“Chika and Anton spent a lot of time at the hotel in Dallas studying until they each took their respective knowledge tests for their competitive events,” Kasperek said. “I know they put in more time at home prior to travel as well. I'm really proud of their commitment to HOSA and was thrilled to see them recognized on the international awards stage."  

HOSA is a global student-led organization that empowers future health professionals to become leaders in the global health community, through education, collaboration, and experience. Members of HOSA charters from U.S. Territories, Canada, China, South Korea, and Mexico were in attendance at the International Leadership Conference.