Nathaniel Gipson’s interest in Japanese language and culture was sparked at a young age, and now the self-taught linguist is on his way to Northwestern University.

As a student at Ogden International School, Nathaniel began to learn about different cultures and languages. It was eye opening, and he found that he was particularly interested in Japan. Scrounging for resources on the internet, Nathaniel studied on his own, piecing together what he learned until he was able to carry on conversations in Japanese with members of a local Japanese conversation group. He was even accepted to a university in Tokyo, but finances made it impossible for a move across the world.

Nathaniel’s mom and sister were both taking classes at Malcolm X College, and he learned he qualified for free tuition and books at any City College through the Star Scholarship. He decided that earning an associate degree for free was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and enrolled in classes at Malcolm X College and Harold Washington College.

Throughout his time at City Colleges, Nathaniel has especially come to appreciate the passion and dedication of the faculty and staff members who have helped him on his way. Particularly, an international relations class with Professor Ingrid Riedle helped him determine his career goal of a job in an international organization like the United Nations. He also expressed his gratitude to English faculty Loretta Visomirskis and Japanese language faculty Professor Sundy Satsu, but said “I could honestly list every professor I’ve ever had at City Colleges as someone who was supportive and inspired me.”

Nathaniel’s next stop isn’t far away – in fact, it’s just outside of Chicago at Northwestern University, where he will earn his bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international studies and a minor in Japanese.

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