I know that regardless of what exactly I'm doing, I want to make change.
Congratulations on your graduation, Nneoma!
"I applied to Bucknell as an engineer because I felt that environmental engineering best aligned with my hope to implement change in communities in need. I ended up finding that I was more interested in the hands-on, social side to creating this change rather than the technical side. By the end of my second semester, I had already taken four social science courses in political science, sociology, Latin American studies and education. The material that resonated with me most was sociology, but I liked that each of these classes challenged me in different ways and I wanted to continue to explore how they could be applied to sociology.
"My passion for family, community and education was definitely influenced by the way I was raised. I've always had a really strong support system from my family, and I think that's helped in pushing me to set high goals and work to achieve them. Additionally, I'm a first-generation American — my parents were born in Nigeria — and I feel blessed because I have foundations in a culture that really emphasizes the importance of education and hard work.
"However, many people don't have that kind of support system, whether it's from family or another community, and I believe that's a big contributor to why they don't have the same opportunities to succeed, especially in higher education. Being a Posse Scholar has further sealed my opinions about how important it is to have a strong community; I've benefitted a lot academically and personally from it.
"Last semester I did community service with a group called Empowering Voices. Once a week, three of us went to ClearVision, which is a group home for delinquent and truant girls, ages 14–20. We'd talk with them about women's issues, like self-perception, sexual violence, relationships, self-esteem, body image, things like that. Some of these girls are about my age and I saw how different we were living, but at the same time how we relate as women. I also saw a lot of positive change in the way they viewed certain topics, and the choices they made in their lives as a result of the conversations we had. Of all the things I've done at Bucknell that has been the most fulfilling to me.
"I know for sure that I'm interested in law school — I want a J.D. behind my name. I set my goals really high, which is scary, but also something I pride myself on. One day, I hope to be a judge or work in family practice law in an area like child custody, sexual violence or domestic abuse. Those really shape people's experiences. At the same time, I also see myself working in politics for education reform, trying to implement institutional change. I know that regardless of what exactly I'm doing, I want to make change."
Nneoma is from Los Angeles, Calif.