Delegate of the Week

Nnenna Ijoma      
University of Texas, Arlington

As a result of her talent for leadership and caring for others, Nnenna Ijoma began mentoring other students while she was still in high school. When Nnenna noticed a lack of representation in the STEM fields, she decided she had to be an example for other young African American women. Eager to bring her voice to the world of science and technology, she enrolled in the Architecture Program at the University of Texas, Arlington (UTA). Nnenna’s experiences as an architecture student led her to recognize an underlying passion for engineering which later inspired her to change her degree plan.

At UTA, Nnenna became a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), for which she served as Education Chair. In addition to Nnenna’s involvement with NBSE, she volunteered for NAACP Feeds the Homeless, the Dallas Convention Center, and several local cleanup initiatives. Nnenna’s engagement in her community has helped her build a valuable support network of peers and professionals. Through her connections, she was introduced to a representative from Lockheed Martin who informed her about Great Minds in STEM (GMiS).

After learning more about GMiS, Nnenna excitedly volunteered for her very first Viva Technology Program in the Spring of 2018. Her participation as a College Captain allowed her to mentor middle school students while assisting with educational competitions and activities. Engaging with students and industry professionals at the event also had a profound impact on Nnenna’s academic career, as she discovered a love for engineering which prompted her to change her major to Industrial Engineering.

Since she began volunteering with GMiS, Nnenna has assisted with five different Viva Technology programs in Texas. Having excelled in her role as a College Captain, she was selected to serve as a Delegate for the 2019 GMiS Conference. She notes, “I enjoy every event I attend with GMIS; the impact we make is so prominent and needed in our underrepresented communities.”

Recently, Nnenna completed a 2019 Summer internship with Lockheed Martin and plans to graduate from UTA in May of 2020. She explains the hardships she faces as a young, self-supporting student, “At the age of twenty I became an orphan, and that's where STEM really became a big part of my life. I am depending heavily on my success to carry me through life, and I think that is what many who chose to go into STEM can relate to. We can all relate to wanting a better life for ourselves, our families and more, and STEM careers will give us just that.”

Having distinguished herself as a leader and a role-model, Nnenna is an inspiration to all STEM students who have experienced adversity along the path to success. For her amazing work and service to her community, GMiS proudly recognizes Nnenna as Delegate of the Week.

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