PharmD Student Kim Nezianya Combines Studies and Sports
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How do you pronounce your last name?
Na-Zan-Ya — like lasagna with an N.
Where is UMKC taking you?
Lots of places. To the basketball court. I was an athlete here, moving to Kansas City from Dallas. Both of my parents are from Nigeria. And now, I am a student in the School of Pharmacy. I have been at UMKC for six years. I double majored in Communications Studies and Chemistry.
Why did you choose UMKC?
I chose this university because of the basketball opportunities, and I wanted to live in a large city like Kansas City instead of a suburb of Dallas.
How has college inspired you?
College has inspired me to dream bigger. A great education opens the door to numerous opportunities in the future. So being at UMKC has taught me that I really can be the change I want to be.
Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?
I have learned that I am my own worst critic. It’s great to set goals and strive to be exceptional, but it is okay to rely on grace sometimes. “Failure,” in most circumstances leads to growth, so it really is okay to fail sometimes.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?
Don’t be afraid to build professional relationships. In college, you are encountering people from so many different backgrounds, and you can learn from them. In addition, most professors had professional careers prior to teaching; so don’t be afraid to reach out to them and use them as resources both during coursework and afterwards.
Who do you admire most at UMKC?
I really admire both Chancellor Leo Morton and UMKC Athletic Director Carla Wilson. I think it’s so admirable that although they are both people in important administrative positions, they take the time to build personal relationships with students. I had the honor of being a student athlete during my undergrad years and got to know both of them very well. Being a minority student, it’s also encouraging to see to African American people who hold positions as high as they do, but as such, displaying such humility. It’s awesome!
Carla Wilson worked here 17 years before she became the athletic director and is one of the few African American women in the country who holds that title. She reaches out to all the students who want her mentorship or to just talk. Chancellor Morton has been instrumental in my success during my time at UMKC. He knows students by name and also what their goals are.
What’s your greatest fear?
When I first started college, I would have said not reaching my fullest potential, not being remembered. But at this point in my life, I don’t fear things like that anymore because I know I was created with purpose. I just strive to live each day with intentionality in whatever I am faced with and I have complete confidence resting in that.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself married, maybe with a couple of children. Hopefully I’ll be working as a pharmacist in a hospital somewhere or doing medical missionary work.
Tell us more about your faith.
I was a top athlete in Dallas, and it wasn’t the same when I arrived here. I had to adjust, learn to continue without following the desire to quit. I also had to work harder than I ever thought I could to get accepted into the School of Pharmacy. I had to depend on my faith to get through these challenges.
What is one word that best describes you?
Resilient. Whether it’s been injuries as an athlete, insecurities about purpose, family, drama, relationships or whatever, I have been through a lot of different seasons in my life – some good and some bad. But in every one of those seasons I have chosen growth instead of giving up. I credit it to living a faith-based life and having an end goal to focus on.