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Equipping the Youth for the Future! #BellaNaijaMCM Obinna Ukwuani is starting Nigeria’s First STEM-focused school

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Equipping the Youth for the Future! #BellaNaijaMCM Obinna Ukwuani is starting Nigeria's First STEM-focused schoolThe Fourth Industrial Revolution – the digital revolution – is in full force and our #BellaNaijaMCM today Obinna Ukwuani is working to get Nigeria on the movement.

Ukwuani, who graduated with a B.Sc in Economics (Business Management) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in 2012, founded and directed the Exposore Robotics program, a first-class, first-of-its-kind robotics education program in Lagos, Nigeria through the Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA).

The program taught over 100 Nigerian and Ghanaian high school students computer programming and engineering fundamentals through building and operating robots between 2012 and 2014.

Through strategic partnerships, the program was taught by globally diverse teams of MIT, Columbia University, University of Ibadan students flown into the country for six weeks.

The “Naija Beta” documentary which is based on the program, won “Best Documentary Film” at the Roxbury International Film Festival.

He’s hoping on repeating the experience with a new STEM-focused school – Makers Academy.

After securing a $200,000 investment from four Venture Capitalists, Ukwuani hopes to begin the session in 2018 or 2019 with a pioneer 600 students living on the campus.

For now, Ukwuani runs the NESA by Makers program which is “a Full-Stack Web Development Course + Mentorship + Professional Placement” which runs for 6 months.

Ukwuani, who was born in Washington DC, U.S, had most of his education in the States, however, in his eighth and ninth grade, he was brought to his hometown in Enugu, Nigeria, to school so as to know his roots.

He went back to the U.S after that, and in his first year at MIT, he said: “I met up with my peers, the friends and classmates I’d met during my time there (Nigeria) and it was shocking to see how far behind me they were. It was a very real experience for me.

He described the imbalance as “an injustice.”

“In the U.S., if you work hard, you’ll be fine in this life. So I had that moment where I knew I wanted to improve things in Nigeria,” he said.

This led to him founding XRA focusing on high school students.

Between 2010 and 2012, Ukwuani was the Vice President & Creative Director of Harambe Nigeria, a youth and agriculture-focused start-up NGO which, over three years, raised more that $100,000 USD to operate an educational agri-business incubator, host a national business plan competition, and organize conferences to promote agriculture with the support of companies such as Shell Oil and Notore.

From 2009 to 2010, Ukwuani was a Robotics Instructor with the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Ukwuani is playing his part in creating Nigeria’s future in terms of STEM, and we are rooting for him!

18 Comments

  1. Just asking init

    July 24, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Is he single?

    • Mrs chidukane

      July 24, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      Destiny derailers!

    • TK

      July 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      No he’s not. 🙂 We should be focused on making change…that’s how you attract people.

  2. Rose

    July 24, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Nice one…and he is one fineeee broda 2??

  3. Nne

    July 24, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Very Impressive!….. I am inspired and more success to come.

    Ps: I dont usually do this but I cant help myself,.. this specimen of a man is husband material o

  4. The Real Oma

    July 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    What an impressive young man. Keep the flag flying
    God bless your endeavours!

  5. Michael M

    July 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    That’s just what the country needs at this time. Men and women who will make a serious change by educating the youth, and showing them the way forward.
    Kudos! man.
    More power to your elbow as you make this happen. I pray this program of yours wake other philanthropic Nigerians to join in by coming up with other programs for youth development.

  6. Ephi

    July 24, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    **I met up with my peers, the friends and classmates I’d met during my time there (Nigeria) and it was shocking to see how far behind me they were. ***

    That is the sad story of Nigeria. By the time JAMB jambs you like 3 times, and then add universities going on perpetual strike to the mix, it’s no wonder that people’s lives are slowed down for no just reason in Nigeria. Kudos to him for doing what he can.

  7. Sheun

    July 24, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Is he married? He is CUTE!!!! I know that wasn’t the point of the feature, but I couldn’t help it. 🙂

  8. No Headaches Please

    July 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Yesterday was Sunday, if you lie that this fiiiine face wasn’t an added incentive to click on this post, God will judge you.
    ??

    We can’t just be 3 guilty people here na. ??

    I see a fast rising technology ecosystem in Nigeria, well done to people like Obinna who are driving this revolution. ???

  9. Empress

    July 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Ride on Obinna Ukwuani. The last time I saw him, he was a very shy young secondary school student. Keep making us proud…. And yes he is still single????

    • No Headaches Please

      July 24, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      *coughs Thank you Empress. ??

  10. californiabawlar

    July 24, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!! I will offer to sub pro bono at this school! I’ll help write grants to get funding. Anything. Omg! I was thinking about this today after I couldn’t get the robotics team off my mind. I kept wondering what the way forward would be for the kiddos. Another set of bright minds that would get numbed out by the Nigerian higher education system?
    Innovation in science and technology is the only way out of the dark ages for Nigeria and Africa. We literally have to start from the scratch with fresh minds and provide mentors that will help with the later stages of their careers.
    I’m so excited! This has definitely made my week.
    My life goal is to revamp the education system in Nigeria. The status quo is so entrenched in mediocrity (AT BEST) and has already ruined any chances for our generation. And yes, he is right, it is an injustice. I went to uni with folks in engineering programs that were darn near geniuses – most of them now working with banks. Shameful!

  11. Felinda

    July 24, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    yes hes taken so yall can stop asking
    hes very taken.

  12. Han

    July 25, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Keep up the great work

  13. bebo

    July 25, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    hes taken o, last I remember he’s dating a lady from rwanda I think. cute couple.

  14. I love Shea butter.

    July 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Very impressive, kudos! To this innovation.

  15. John Capozzi

    August 7, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Obinna is a person who has always looked at the world as a place that can be changed and improved. I am proud to know him and he deserves more support for his efforts!

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