We are pleased to announce our 2019-2020 recipient of the Anthony Ihedoha Anaebere, Sr. Memorial Scholarship

Emmanuella Somto Okonkwo

Jos, Nigeria

B.S. Candidate, Engineering Science

Smith College, 2021

After reviewing dozens of applications and interviewing four incredibly talented finalists, Ms. Okonkwo stood out for her passion for developing sustainable designs in aerospace engineering, her commitment to Nigeria, and balance between the rigor of being an excellent student and remarkable student athlete.

She graduated from Baptist High School in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria then matriculated to Smith College in Northampton, MA majoring in Engineering Science with interest in aerospace engineering given her “passion for mechanical designs and fascination with planes.”

She has worked on a number of projects through the Picker Engineering program at Smith College including a flight dynamics project where she and her team designed two models of a plane with wings using airfoils, a car design project to reduce the drag force of a car and a designed an ultra-filtration system to affordably detect cholera disease. At Smith, she is also a student athlete in track and field where in 2019, she was selected as one of 5 student athletes for the highly regarded New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All Sportsmanship team. This team is intended to recognize one athlete committed to academic excellence and NEWMACs code of conduct from 5 different sports at each of the 11 participating institutions.

Somto is committed to the advancement of women in engineering. She has taught young girls about engineering through the “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” Program at Smith College. This year, she plans to do research at Smith College and Boston University, redesigning aircraft stabilizers using soft robots to determine how this can improve fuel, emissions and noise efficiency. She plans to get a Masters in Aerospace Engineering and PhD to expand her interests in designing mechanical devices and microelectromechanical, automotive, and aerospace systems. She hopes to start an aviation company to create more employment opportunities and a safer aerospace ecosystem in Nigeria.

Congratulations, Ms. Somto Okonkwo. We look forward to celebrating your future achievements.

Her recommender Dr. Kristen L. Dorsey, Assistant Professor of Engineering at Smith College had this to say about Ms. Okonkwo:

“Somto has shown a level of curiosity and desire to deeply understand the course material that is rare… She is a strong and persistent student with excellent skills in relating to other students and faculty. She has been an outspoken advocate for improving opportunities within aerospace and aeronautics engineering in Nigeria… She demonstrates the qualities that the AIA scholarship recognizes- engineering excellence, a deep respect for education and a leadership in sharing knowledge with others.

We would also like to acknowledge our three other finalists

Mr. Joshua Usoro

Houston, TX

PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Dallas

Mr. Abuchi Okeke

Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria

M.S Candidate, Biosystems Engineering, University of Kentucky

Ms. Omotayo Aleru

Fresno, CA

B.S. Candidate, Aerospace Engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Please check back on our website, your School of Engineering or local NSBE chapter for details about the upcoming scholarship cycle.