According to VTNews, Nneoma Nwankwo of Nigeria, who will graduate in May with a degree in Political Science, is Virginia Tech Undergraduate Student of the Year. Nwankwo is minoring in public and urban affairs and creative writing. She has maintained a 3.9 GPA while engaging in domestic and international service and research on issues facing females in developing nations.
In 2013, Nneoma who has found passion working in the service of others conducted an independent study into the negative effects of poor Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) on the education and socio-economic empowerment of girls in underserved areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2014, she was awarded the Austin Michelle Cloyd Fellowship for Social Justice for her proposal to pursue service-oriented MHM research in West Africa. Last year, the findings from her research was published by Virginia Tech’s Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education.
Nwankwo said: “At Virginia Tech, I have been challenged to live in service to others. I have learned how to lead boldly as I pursue my global development interests. Ultimately, I have discovered that Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) is an active verb, and when I serve those around me, I create a meaningful life for myself.”
The award recognizes a graduating student who has achieved overall excellence during his or her undergraduate career at the university. It’s the most prestigious non-academic undergraduate award given at Virginia Tech and is awarded to a student who has exceptional and balanced achievement in academics, leadership, and service.
The recipient exemplifies the qualities and values important to a Virginia Tech education, captured in the university motto, Ut Prosim. In fall 2013, she undertook an independent study on the negative effects of poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) on the education and socio-economic empowerment of girls in underserved areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
She has held many leadership positions across campus. She served as the fundraising chair for the African Students Association and raised money for a local charity in Ethiopia. Fluent in English and Igbo and conversationally proficient in French, Yoruba, and Swahili. She is a coach at the Virginia Tech Writing Center and was international columnist for the Collegiate Times student-run newspaper.
She was recipient of the Overton R. Johnson Scholarship and the Accenture Scholarship. She has accepted a full-time position at Citibank in New York City. She will continue to conduct research on MHM.