Class of 2020: Nia Little

Nia Little is big on science, BGSU’s leadership academy

By Bob Cunningham

Bowling Green State University wasn’t even on Nia Little’s radar.

That is until Little learned about the Sidney A. Ribeau President's Leadership Academy (PLA) and “how much work they do in the community.”

The PLA is a four-year leadership development program that engages scholars in classes, workshops and experiential learning and community service activities. The curriculum focuses on specific outcomes, with each year’s experience building on those of the previous year.

Now, Little, an incoming BGSU freshman from the Class of 2020, can’t wait to arrive on campus.

“Former students from my high school came back and gave a presentation on the PLA, so I found out more information about it and applied for the scholarship,” said Little, who graduated from Renaissance High School in Detroit. “I’m all about being a leader, and just knowing the stuff the PLA does and the activities it’s involved in got my attention. 

“I guess I did well on the interview because I got the scholarship.” 

In addition to honing leadership skills, Little has big plans at BGSU as a pre-med major.

“Science has always been my strong point,” she said. “I’ve always had teachers tell me I really should think about going into science and my mom and dad and my whole family said the same thing. 

“I’ve never not thought about doing something in science. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just love science. It’s something I’m really good at.”

Little’s goal is to be either a pediatrician or an anesthesiologist.

No matter what Little ends up doing, however, she sees herself being a part of the community.

“I feel like if I can do something I enjoy and help people at the same time, that’s want I want to do,” she said. “Getting involved in the community around Bowling Green is really important to me because I’m all about bringing people together.” 

Little has experience working in the community of her hometown of Oak Park and around Detroit. She enjoyed being involved with a program called the Greening of Detroit, an urban forestry program. 

“We would clean up trees and stuff like that and people in the neighborhood would come up and talk to us,” she said. “We would put on events to teach residents how to keep the neighborhood clean and we would do fun activities.”

Little sees the BGSU campus experience as her chance to grow as a person.

“When I get on campus I plan on getting involved in a lot of programs,” she said. “In high school I really didn’t involve myself a lot because I was more focused on my grades, but now once I get to college I’ll have more flexibility and more time to do things.”

Golf is another passion for Little. She played on her high school golf team and participated in the Adams Golf Junior Tour in the Detroit area and Michigan Junior Golfademics. She also gave golf instruction and taught math to young kids.   

She likes teaching golf and “I like seeing the children develop their game over time because when I was younger I had people help me that way and now I’m returning the favor.”

Bowling Green’s location in northwest Ohio and proximity to Detroit was another plus for Little.

“It’s only an hour and 30 minutes,” she said. “So if I want to drive back and visit family, it’s not too bad.”