In the mid-1990s, they were the dynamic duo — Ngozi Okorafor, the self-described "know-it-all law student," and her sister Nnedi, "the budding journalist and writer" who'd go on to make it big writing science fiction novels.
They shared a cramped, all-pink apartment on Nevada Avenue on the edge of Urbana from 1995-98 — the building is no more — and "we took the campus by storm," as Ngozi remembers those days.
"Both college athletes, we worked out at the WIMPE and IMPE gyms. We caught amazing concerts. We witnessed contemporary artists, activists and authors present on myriad current events that meant something to us. We volunteered for and supported a number of organizations and causes that we believed in deeply — at one point leading a group of African students in a march to boycott the local Shell gas station in Champaign to publicize the multinational oil company’s role in Nigerian writer Ken Saro Wiwa’s death.
"And we ate good, good food — from Garcia’s pizza to Mexican, Thai and Indian.
"My time on campus was indeed extraordinary, largely due to my sister’s influence."