Sasha Cunningham grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica, the daughter of Donald Cunningham, an electrician, and Purcess Ellis who works as a domestic helper. Her graduation from Johnson C. Smith University was a historic event in her family because she is the first of her two siblings to attend college. Her parents were able to attend the commencement exercises and cheer for Cunningham as she walked across the stage to receive her Bachelor of Science Degree on May 19.
Cunningham didn’t find Johnson C. Smith University on her own. The university found her. The competitive runner was recruited by Coach Lennox Graham on a visit to Jamaica and she was offered the opportunity to join the Golden Bulls Women’s Track Team. She came to represent JCSU in the 400 meter and helped her teammates win the conference championship for the first time in University history.
A highly competitive student as well as athlete, Cunningham broke a few records in her academic career. The biology major with a minor in chemistry made it through JCSU in three years, graduating with a GPA of 4.0.
“The experience here has been great,” she said of JCSU. “The fact that you can talk to people directly and learn in small classes really helped me. It was challenging but I could manage by seeing my professors during their office hours.”
Her learning won’t stop after graduation. This summer Cunningham will participate in a research program at Davidson College to prepare for graduate school at New Mexico Highlands University. She’ll study the effects of spermatogenesis as they relate to potential infertility in humans. Her ultimate goal is to go to medical school for anesthesiology.