Wednesday, 30 November, 2022


Nigerian Aces in Diaspora – Wendy Okolo

The Nigerian achievement stories outside the country serves as a constant reminder to us all that given the right environment and support tools, most Nigerians will excel academically, vocationally and creatively.
Significantly, this has become evident these days thanks to social media where you can find a lot of Nigerians Aces abroad subtlety revealing their intellectual prowess by sharing some of their works online unselfishly for others to appreciate, thereby creating the opportunity for folks to explore a little deeper into their success story to find leverage and or alignment.

In most cases an amazing achiever is revealed during the exploration stages, thus highlighting again the need to question our academic functions and environment within Nigeria. Is the environment not working or are we missing a trick, remains the overaching question.
Ever too often we hear stories of Nigeria’s high earners and achievers abroad and we are again obliged to recognise and amplify the value these individuals can cascade down to the grassroots educational system in Nigeria if a conscious and precise part for knowledge transfer and or acquisition from them can be created and or harnessed.
Here is another example of an amazing Nigerian in the diaspora whose achievements can and should be showcased to aspiring your female engineers in Nigeria.
Wendy Okolo at 26 was the First Black Woman to Earn a Doctorate Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington.

She was part of the team that flew the world’s fastest manned aircraft, which flew from coast to coast in 67 minutes a befitting record for her brilliance, courage and above all determination.
She received her BSc and PhD degrees in aerospace engineering from the university in 2010 and 2015 respectively. Today, the 30 year old is an aeronautics and space administration genius who works as an aerospace research engineer at the Ames Research Center, a major research centre for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Silicon Valley, in the United States of America. She is currently working on the System-Wide Safety (SWS) project, where she has led the task of predicting GPS faults in drones, amongst other ground breaking innovative engineering projects.
Highlighting her achievements also helps with visualising an aligned focus for young Nigerians who understand collaboration and value the essence of team work. Building a solid economy and productive country would require young Nigerians to awaken their curiosity, explore their limitations and push for knowledge acquisition by any means necessary.
Thanks to the power of the internet these explorations and acquisitions are not a distant dream anymore but a practical reality based on the realisation that the average Nigerian is constantly challenged to want to do better. It would seem that what could be lacking is a sense of direction or an aligned focus within the educating progress.
In the true nature of the African being, Intelligence is part of our DNA, and Wendy Okolo is an example of a Nigerian in diaspora who simply tapped into this realisation based on the facts that the right tools and environment where available to her.
“There’s nothing under the sun that isn’t achievable, the question is, are we willing to sacrifice that time? .There are people on the streets of Nigeria selling pure water that if given the opportunity might do better, if given the right tools can excel relatively, if placed in the right environment can succeed beyond imagination”, a social media user said.
It goes back to orientation, Ms Okolo has successfully passed through a systematic learning structure that has infused a level of consciousness in her and has also embedded an orientation in her, that is categorically geared towards continual improvement of self, by making sure she’s constantly focused and looking forward to more exciting engineering challenges ahead, personally or for a cause.

The Nigerian diaspora remains a massive pool source of wealth, knowledge and resources that is capable of activating and enabling a shift in the mind of the Nigerian youth towards innovation if this potential force and way of working is collaboratively harnessed and unleashed upon the current Nigerian grassroots educational schemes.

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