Ugwem Eneyo, CEE senior

Quote from Ugwem Eneyo: "People might underestimate how inspiring and motivating it is when you get a scholarship, because it shows that somebody - beyond maybe your parents - is recognizing your effort and your achievement, and it makes you want to keep going."

Bob Zieba Memorial Scholarship
Koch Athletic and Academic Scholarship
Ernest L. Docter Memorial Award
(Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association)
Crawford Murphy Tilly Inc. Scholarship

As a high school student in southern Illinois, Ugwem Eneyo originally planned to study journalism and political science. The daughter of Nigerian-born parents who worked in engineering and computer science, Ugwem had a sudden change of heart during her senior year.

“At the last minute I decided that I should stop running away from my destiny, so I applied to Illinois for engineering,” she laughs.

Now a CEE senior with concentrations in environmental engineering and hydrology, Eneyo is busy applying to graduate school, with hopes of earning dual master’s degrees in environmental engineering and either law or public policy.

“Ultimately I’m trying to address the relationship and the links between the environment, energy and economic development,” she says.

While at Illinois, Eneyo has been active in the National Society of Black Engineers, Engineering Council, the Provost’s Student Advisory Board, the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee, the Illinois Student Senate as a member of the Committee for Environmental Sustainability, and significant volunteer work through the Morrill Engineering Program, which serves underrepresented groups in engineering. She is also an Engineering Learning Assistant for a class in clean water access for the Illinois Engineering First-Year Experience program, which targets freshmen for project-based engineering education.  

Eneyo’s scholarships have given her more than just a financial boost.  One included the opportunity to pursue an independent study in air quality issues surrounding the production of hot-mix asphalt.  Another has fostered a relationship with a donor, who has visited campus to have lunch with her and encouraged her involvement in other professional activities. This connection with CEE alumni has inspired her to consider her relationship with the department as continuing beyond graduation.

“I appreciate that people are remembering and considering the students that are following behind them,” she says.  “It helps us understand the importance of why we should stay involved with the university afterwards, because we were on the receiving end at one point and it meant something to us.”