Nigerian Wendy Okolo, one of the few black women to obtain PhD in Aerospace engineering who works at NASA, wins big award in U.S.

Amos Fofung
Amos Fofung
AMOS FOFUNG Nkunchoh is a multi-talented journalist with an intrinsic passion for investigative, politics and conflict reporting. He's based in the U. S.A.

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Nigerian-born Dr. Wendy Okolo is 2019 most promising engineer in the United States government.

She was crowned winner of Black Engineer of the Year Awards, BEYA, for her accomplishments in the domain of aerospace engineering.   

Dr. Wendy Okolo is one of the few black women to earn a doctorate degree in Aerospace Engineering when she was just 26 years old.

She currently works at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, and is the special emphasis programs manager at Ames Research Center and also a research engineer in the Discovery and Systems Health Technology (DaSH) Area.

According to The Cabel, Okolo talked about her experience piloting the world’s fastest manned aircraft which flies from coast to coast in 67 minutes.

“I was like I’m sure, these guys are so smart, what am I going to bring to the table. I was given an assignment to correct an error in a code system which I did and that momentarily ended the impostor syndrome.”


I was like I’m sure, these guys are so smart, what am I going to bring to the table. I was given an assignment to correct an error in a code system which I did and that momentarily ended the impostor syndrome

A research engineer with NASA since 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile, the 30-year-old who already has some 13 publications in aircraft engineering and expresses herself in 4 different languages is poised to scale more ladders as she continues to break grounds inspiring not just black women but Africa as a whole.


  1. Makes me want to jump and shout .I am a 75 year old Diasporan African from South America
    We need qualified diasporan Africans to assist in our impending development since all the recent oil dicoveries

  2. On behalf of the ELDERS Council of the Nigerian Community of Montreal Quebec Canada, CONGRATULATIONS and WISHING you MORE success on your journey, and God’s endless blessings

  3. Dr. Wendy Okolo I and millions of Nigerians & Africans rejoice with you on your great achievements. You are a shining example to all Nigerians and women especially all over the world. God gave you a unique opportunity and you took positive advantage of it and became a celebrated academic quality. I hope Nigerian leaders who are only interested in power and stealing money will learn from your successes and develop our educational system so that the country can produce more of Wendy Okolo. CONGRATULATIONS!

  4. Comment: I need her number. Who can assist me. My son is doing Aeronautical Engineering. This lady can provide a lot of motivation and guidance

  5. Congratulation to her. African people in America have made great contributions since the African American civil rights movement opened up the doors for them to come here to study and prosper. They add to the accomplishments of African people in America for four hundred years. Good job.

  6. Wow am so happy to hear of our African women coming up, Congrats Wendy,you are the kind of women to use as an example to our fellow Africans to empower them come up too.

  7. Congratulations Dr and the achievement recognized by all men. best of good luck and wish you more. Well the gender balance is encourage in this juncture.what a man can do a woman can do.

  8. Congratulations Dr Wendy Okolo May you, a Seed, multiply in our children and blessed be your parents and all those who have groomed you IJN

  9. I couldn’t help but notice that there were several references, and several references were missing. Present were black woman and Nigerian. I feel that cheapens her accomplishment. If we usually are united we stand it must be understood that her achievement is fantastic. Not as a black woman Nigerian. She’s am American citizen I’m thinking. Was she born in Nigeria or born of Nigerian parents why legally immigrated to the United states? See how the article takes away from her accomplishments. I would think she would want to be considered successful against blacks, whites, etc. American is not a color, to say that she succeeded at achieving her PhD before she was 30, speaks 4 languages, earned respect through knowledge and performance (gindingvthe code error), etc is far better than qualifying her sucess through a skin color or home country of her parents. Before anyone kills the white boy (that would be me) take a minute and consider you we can grow as a nation together instead of feeding into the keep the hate alive narrative wigs us used to decide the country so certain people and parties can profit from the control of others. Wow, that’s a lot more than I started to say, but hopefully the readers will see,my point. Congratulations again on your achievements. I think you may want to,be known as an Americian success story,, great job.

  10. Nwannem Dr Wendy Okolo, congratulations and thank you for representing. A great role model! Has color got anything to do with it?
    One thing is obvious: nothing bad has ever been associated with BLESSED MELANIN.
    To God be the glory!

  11. Nwannem Dr Wendy Okolo, congratulations and thank you for representing. A great role model! Has color got anything to do with it?
    One thing is obvious: nothing bad has ever been associated with BLESSED MELANIN.
    To God be the glory!

  12. Comment: great achievement … we are happy for you here at home… pave a way for other Nigerians to be there …

  13. Congratulations Dr. Okolo. We are very proud of you. Continue to depend on God, give glory to Him. Blessings to you for future endeavors,

  14. I noticed a few things some misunderstood…
    1. This trailblazer, Dr. Wendy Okolo, was the first Black Woman to obtain a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. That means that of all the women in the world who identify as African/Black, she was the FIRST TO EARN this education. However, this is not what the award is for.
    2. This supremely intelligent and creative person, Dr. Wendy Okolo, did not win this award because she’s a woman or simply because she’s African/Black. The award was presented by Black Engineer Magazine, at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards ceremony, hence the acknowledgement of her ethnicity. This is significant because it means she has been raised up and set apart in this recognition by her peers, and more specifically by this subset who very clearly understand the challenges she’s faced in her meteoric rise (pun intended). The award is for Most Promising Engineer – Government, NOT Most Promising BLACK Engineer… you get what I’m saying.
    3… and most important in my opinion. The significance of this Queen and industry leader, Dr. Wendy Okolo, winning is not to show white people that we are smart or can do things. It is to remind US, people of African origin, that we possess an unimaginable depth of knowledge in our very DNA, that we are capable of ALL that we pour our everything into, and barriers exist to prove to ourselves just how high we can jump to reach our goals. And many times, when we jump, we end up flying.

  15. Congratulations Dr Wendy. A product of Africa. Glory be to God. May the Lord God Almighty continue upholding, giving more wisdom and blessing you in Jesus name. I pray that many young people will be inspired. Many girl children will be encouraged to be educated. Educate a girl child, you educate the world! Remain blessed.

  16. Congratulations to our Dr. Wendy Okolo for a great achievement. You just shows The White man that African people are also intelligent.
    God Bless you more
    Stay blessed. 🙏

  17. Congratulations so proud of you, I had the pleasure to work at NASA Amens in Biomedical Research I loved it continue blessings and professional growth.

  18. Congratulations 🍾🎉🎊🎈 to you my child 🧒. May you continue to elevate in your knowledge of the unknown and Gods grace surrounds you wherever you go.
    Your legacy will be shared with my granddaughters, and the 16 years old in 10th grade wants to go to space so she is working hard on that and your inspiration story I will share with her when she wakes up. Thank you 🙏🏾 for sharing this story and God bless America. #Proud to be African from SALONE ✊🏾👏🏾👍🏾🙏🏾👩🏽‍🦱🧠😇😇

  19. Well the daughter of an immigrant has achieved something for USA. Are you still building your wall?

  20. Comment: Firstly, i congratulates the United State Of America and the Americans who have created a country for dreamers and goal geters that even the child of the unknown will step foot and fulfill their dreams. My congratulation also goes to our sister for living her dreams.

  21. She won the award in America so she will be recognized as Black….y’all Africans always wanna come to America and distance yourself from Black Americans but wanna reap all the benefits of being Black while in America!

  22. Outstanding Dr. Okolo! You are what we look like at our best. Your community celebrates you achievement and pray God bless you with many,many more!

  23. Congratulations on your achievements. This is more BLACK HISTORY. I’m glad they’re not trying to hide it. This will Encourage our younger women.Thank you for your service.

  24. Very nice. This kind of achievement needs to be encouraged anytime and in minorities communities.

  25. This is a great achievement for our young African and American girls. They must see role models such as Dr. Okolo, so they can do the same! We’re so grateful for your achievement. My cousin Marissa Jennings(LA girl- Bennett Belle-CEO of SOCIALgrlz) is mentoring three young African girls right now to join you at NASA one day.
    (Great morning sharing India, Bria & Mikayla #S3 journey at the SPELMAN College: Loving ME girls Conference. Amazing conversation about resilience & education. They were guided by a BENNETT Belle #NeverForget #Bennett + #Spelman = Brilliant Black Women doing the real work.) ~ Marissa Jennings

  26. Congratulations. Love seeing black women attaining the highest level of success in whatever they do.

  27. Such a high achievement at such a you age. Congratulations we are all proud of you both Africans and African Americans

  28. Congrats..!
    I don’t know why there should be term written that black. Meaning to say we still can not be equal. When I saw the movie “Men of Honor” I feel very ashamed.
    Go ahead.

  29. Let’s also start by desisting from using the adjective black to describe an African person. What is wrong with saying an African woman bla bla bla instead of a black woman bla bla bla… The former gives the most accurate depiction than the former. White black are constructs that should not be used to describe race or people in my opinion. I am an African woman and not a black woman. We are Africans not black people. The color of my skin is not even black not anything close to black its a shade of brown so is the skn color of europeans its not white! its some shades of brown too

  30. I am part of an Engineering organization that is significantly male dominated (like 24,000:500 – being generous). We used to have an annual award that was called ‘The woman in technology award’ and each of the few females in the organization took turns receiving this award … The award was not handed out for merit but because the person was female. We have since dissolved that award because the criteria of ‘an outstanding female in the field of Technology’ actually cheapened the acknowledgement of the actual skills that these women had. It also kept them out of the running to be considered for other awards that actually acknowledge talent and achievements.

    I would like to acknowledge that I do comprehend that being a person of a visible minority and female in a VERY male dominated field is not an easy path and should be acknowledged. I do not wish to take away any of the credit that this obviously highly intelligent and hard working woman deserves. She is an outstanding role model of what perseverance and hard work can achieve. I just wish gender and race had been left out of the name of the award as (in my personal opinion & experience) I feel it detracts from acknowledging her skills and achievements.

  31. Not all of us hidden local genius gets to see the light and opportunity to show the world what we possess. Thank God for you. Congrats!! Keep researching. Nwa-afo igbo

  32. I say congratulation to Dr. Okolo! I hope you will do more and achieve more! What you did make all African great and wonderful achievers! May almighty God bless your time!!

  33. Congratulations to a rising star. We are all proud of you I pray for divine protection in all you do.

  34. Congratulations. Am sure someday very soon. Your experience will come in handy for Nigeria. God bless you.

  35. Why does her accomplishment have to be qualified by her colour. Young Female Engineer of the year is good enough and conveys more kudos. Stateing her colour makes it look like an enigma!!

  36. This is landmark achievements to the credit of this wonderful black woman of honor. It is a challenge to women folks to wake up and do more, there are hidden strength and treasures in womanhood. On the other hand, she has once more proven to the world that if the whites do it, the blacks can do more. It is a matter of color difference. I salute you my sister from the Igbo extraction, you are a heroine, a great achiever, a woman to reckon with, the pride of Igbo race and entire African nations. More grace to your elbow. God bless Dr okolo, God bless Igbo nation, God bless us. Amen.

  37. We congratulate our flag bearer for this obviously landmark achievement and recognition. But you cannot but ask why the award is for blacks! My preference could have been gender or age grade award. It reminds me of my achievement as the first black to receive a Ph.D in Business Administration from Manchester Business School, England in 1981!


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