January FELLOWS MENTORSHIP WITH Vanessa Oguamanam

January FELLOWS MENTORSHIP WITH Vanessa Oguamanam

Vanessa Oguamanam a third-year Ph.D. student in Computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA had a mentorship session with the WAAW fellows. She was asked several questions like; why she chose to study Computer Science?”  “How she got to study (or do your Ph.D. in) Computer Science in Georgia?” and “The best ways to look out for funding opportunities for postgraduate programs?”

According to Vanessa, as a child, she was intrigued by computer graphics, animations, games, websites, etc. Although she didn’t have any coding experience. Additionally, she has always been creative at heart. She loves creating “art” (i.e. craft projects, sewing, etc.). However, when she finally studied computer science (CS) as an undergraduate, she realized it was more on the theoretical side than the “artistic” side. And what she enjoyed the most about the program back then was that she recognized it gave her the power to “create” and bring her ideas into reality through programming. To her, it has been helpful in developing her problem solving and logical thinking skills.

Interestingly enough, she didn’t plan on doing her Ph.D. prior to 2017. She thinks a big part of her choosing to do her Ph.D. came after launching and running the She Hacks Africa with the WAAW Foundation for her capstone project. She realized that there is a lot to be done in the field of technology especially in black and brown communities both here in the States and across Africa. Much of the advancements in technology stem from research done in Academia and she wants to be at the forefront in making sure communities that she cares about don’t get left behind in the design and development of emerging technologies.

She is a HUGE advocate for going to school for free. Her Master’s degree was fully-funded and currently, her Ph.D. program is as well. And she never advises anyone to take out loans. She shared to the Fellows ways to fund their graduate program.  Below are ways to fund graduate programs.

1. External Fellowships (I will share a list)

2. Graduate Research Assistantships (Offered by the university. You will work in a research lab. Some students have advisors who have grants to fund them throughout the program)

3. Teaching Assistantships (Offered by the university, you will be responsible for grading or assisting with teaching a class 

Unoma Okorafor

Dr. Unoma Okorafor is the founder of WAAW Foundation. She is a passionate social entrepreneur committed to empowering girls in African through STEM focused education.

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