In an inspiring testament to determination and perseverance, 22 year old Karen Ogochukwu Elisha-Wigwe recently celebrated a significant milestone on Saturday, May 14th 2022, graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Miami University College of Engineering and Computing. Her journey unfolds as a narrative of self-discovery, character development, and the establishment of exceptional relationships, both intentional and unintentional.
Reflecting on her remarkable achievement, Karen expresses profound gratitude to God for the multitude of miracles, both small and mighty, that paved her educational path. She extends heartfelt appreciation to her unwavering family, whose support and encouragement have been instrumental throughout her academic odyssey.
Karen acknowledges the transformative impact of friendships forged, the guidance of the remarkable faculty and staff, and the camaraderie within the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) family, with a special shout-out to Keisha Norris. Her involvement as a student specialist, shift leader in the dining halls, peer tutor at Rinella Learning Center, Resident Assistant in Withrow Hall, peer mentor for the Miami Leadership Academy, and Graduate Assistant for the College of Engineering and Computing further enriched her collegiate experience.
As she embarks on the next chapter of her journey, Karen will be undertaking a Mechanical Engineering Internship at Brunswick Corporation, stationed at the i.Jet Lab facility in Illinois this summer. The culmination of these experiences has brought her many steps closer to the aspiring engineer she envisioned when, as a young and timid teenager, she flew alone from Nigeria to Ohio. Karen emphasizes that this accomplishment would not have been possible without the collective support and contributions of many individuals who played vital roles in her educational journey.
In the spirit of “Love and Honor,” Karen Ogochukwu Elisha-Wigwe’s story is a beacon of inspiration, showcasing the possibilities that unfold when resilience meets ambition. Her trajectory from Nigeria to Ohio stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and the bright future that awaits her in the field of Mechanical Engineering.
Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood is another Nigerian scholar, researcher and lecturer who has achieved remarkable academic excellence and recognition in her field of study. She graduated with a first-class degree in International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies from London Metropolitan University in 2012, with a cumulative grade point average of 4.86 out of 5.00. She also won several awards as the best student in her department and faculty, including the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence, the Dean’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement, and the London Metropolitan University Alumni Association Prize for Academic Excellence.
She went on to pursue a master’s degree in Conflict, Security and Development at King’s College London, where she graduated with distinction in 2013. She then obtained a PhD in Leadership, Security and Development from the same institution in 2019, with a thesis that explored the interaction between illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and other maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea, and their implications for human and national security in the region.
She is currently a lecturer in Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, where she teaches and researches on topics such as the blue economy, environmental justice, human security, maritime governance, and security. She is also a visiting research fellow at the National Defence College’s Institute of Strategic Research and Studies in Nigeria, where she contributes to policy-oriented research on maritime security issues in Africa. Read more about Ifesinachi here.
Karen Ogochukwu Elisha-Wigwe and Ifesinanchi are shining examples of what Nigerian youths can achieve with hard work, determination, and resilience. They are role models for aspiring engineers and geographers and a source of pride for their families, friends, and all of Africa. They deserve to be celebrated.