Rhema Mills was born on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas and has always been proud of her Afro-Caribbean heritage. Embracing different cultures and perspectives, Mills always knew the best way for her to find success was to expand on educational opportunities wherever they might be.

Rhema Mills

Thanks to her parents’ many sacrifices, Mills attended the most prestigious private high school in the Bahamas—Queen’s College—and thrived, earning top scores on national exams, while earning support and praise from her teachers.

But as she flourished, Mills noticed a dramatic change in her health. A doctor’s visit grew into a hospital stay, which eventually escalated into emergency surgery. Eventually, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and the ordeal changed her life.

But with that challenge came more support and inner strength. Her parents transitioned to veganism and never missed a doctor’s appointment. Her friends also never let her forget she had limitless potential.

The health scare reignited and sharpened Mills’ focus, and despite the setback, she graduated with honors and earned national awards, along with more than $100,000 in scholarships. Overcoming the challenges also lit a fire in Mills to pursue a potential career path in food systems, nutrition, and health disparities.

But just as one hurdle was cleared, more appeared. Less than two years after her health battle, Hurricane Dorian destroyed her family’s business. Then the COVID-19 pandemic put them into financial distress. And almost unimaginably, the disease would later take her father’s life.

Suddenly, Mills was back to square one. The dream of attending a private college in New York City was put on hold.

That is when she found a home at Brooklyn College and quickly realized it was where she needed to be. Moving to Brooklyn by herself at 20 to attend college allowed for more self-reflection, and the quality and value of the education made her dreams attainable.

Her passion for public health deepened, and the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences opened her eyes to a multitude of possibilities. Mills’ professors saw her potential immediately, and she jumped at the opportunities to conduct research, lead clubs, and build an amazing network.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in health and nutrition sciences with a public health concentration, Mills is ready to pursue a master’s degree in public health and eventually work in a field related to addressing chronic diseases and racial disparities.