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2020 maybe a difficult pill to swallow with all of the unfortunate events occurring, however, for Nicholas Johnson, this year will be historic for him and his Ivy League school.

The Canadian engineering major has been officially named as Princeton University’s first Black valedictorian; the first one in the school’s 274 year history. Johnson took to social media to express his excitement about being the top student of Princeton’s 2020 graduating class.

“It feels empowering. Being Princeton’s first Black Valedictorian holds special significance to me particularly given Princeton’s historical ties to the institution of slavery. I hope that this achievement motivates and inspires younger black students, particularly those interested in STEM fields.”

This summer, the member of the Princeton’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders plans to intern as a hybrid quantitative researcher and software developer at the D.E. Shaw Group, which is a global investment and technology development firm. Also, Johnson is set to begin his PhD studies in operations research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the fall.

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