Christine O. Ohenzuwa

Hometown – Blaine, MN
Undergrad – Princeton University

Born to a pair of Nigerian immigrants, Christine was surrounded by the sights, sounds and traditions of a rich culture from an early age. As a result, she has always held a deep love and pride for her heritage. In addition to a love of culture, her parents instilled in her an awareness of the importance of education. Consequently, Christine grew up with an acute sense of the value of learning.

From a young age, Christine had a knack for tinkering. She enjoyed discovering how objects worked and how they interacted with the world. Her love for tinkering blossomed into a passion for STEM in high school. In her sophomore year, she and her friends created the app Pocket Pollinator. Pocket Pollinator set out to alleviate the bee crisis by collecting data from citizen scientists in a game-like format and then sending this data to research institutions for analysis; however, the most important feature of the app is the potential it holds to engage youth with the world around them. The app acts as a bridge between the natural world and technology, which seem to be so often juxtaposed against one another.

As a rising senior, Christine was selected to be a part of the MIT Online Science Technology and Engineering Community (MOSTEC). In the program, Christine took courses in Science Writing and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) that culminated in a science writing paper and a final EECS project that was presented at MIT to members of the MIT community. In addition to presenting her project, Christine also had the opportunity to meet the fellow members of her cohort. Getting to know so many intelligent and driven people of color who held the same passion for the sciences that she did inspired her and encouraged her to not be afraid to push herself academically.

Christine’s love for STEM is perhaps only rivaled by her love for her culture and writing. As a part of her parents’ cultural association, she helps organize parties that feature traditional dancing, food and clothes. She has also participated in and helped organize events in which youth create and present projects about prominent people in Edo history. She organizes these events with the hope of encouraging a sense of pride in Edo-American youth, who may feel ostracized in a predominantly Western society that often ridicules non-Western thought. Christine was able to share her own project on Edo history to a national audience through National History Day.

Christine has been involved in writing, specifically in poetry, since she was twelve years old. Through poetry, she found a way to express herself as well as relieve herself from the stresses of everyday life. Her written poetry has been featured in Canvas Literary Magazine, a national youth literary magazine, among other recognitions. She has also become increasingly involved in spoken word poetry. She believes spoken word poetry presents a unique opportunity to meld the technique of written poetry with the rhythm and social consciousness associated with hip hop culture.

In the future, Christine hopes to become an aerospace engineer and participate in breakthrough research to create practical, interdisciplinary solutions to real world problems.