Nneoma Nwankwo who has maintained a 3.9 Grade Point Average will be graduating in May with a degree in Political Science is this year’s Virginia Tech‘s student of the year. She is also minoring in Public and Urban Affairs and Creative Writing.
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.
Speaking on why she’s passionate in the service of others, she said,
“For me, it was necessary for women’s voices to be heard; thus, in Nigeria, I conducted focus groups and workshops with young women. In the Republic of Niger, I participated in the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and United Nations Women menstrual hygiene training, which were aimed at lobbying national policymakers to establish MHM as a top priority in water and sanitation legislation. Through these unique experiences, I found passion in working in the service of others.”
She is also a guest-lecturer on MHM in postgraduate classes in Virginia Tech’s programs in urban affairs and planning and women and gender studies. She said, “Through these avenues, I raise awareness about MHM on campus, contribute to research geared toward creating solutions in the field, and motivate students and faculty to work toward the improvement of women’s rights worldwide.”
The Nigerian has served as the fundraising chair for the African Students Association and raised money for a local charity in Ethiopia; she is a coach at the Virginia Tech Writing Center, and was International columnist for the Collegiate Times student-run newspaper. She has also received Scholarships from Overton R. Johnson and Accenture.
According to Virginia Tech News,
The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Student of the Year award recognizes a graduating student who has achieved overall excellence during his or her undergraduate career at the university. The recognition is 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 (meaning, That I May Serve).
You can read or download her article on how Menstrual Health Management can help to ensure Education for the girl child by clicking this link.
Nneoma, you go girl!