June 17, 2024

Nigerian Teen Secures Full Software Engineering Scholarships To MIT, Stanford, Yale, And More


17-year-old Emmanuela Ilok from Nigeria has been awarded full scholarships to study software engineering at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, including Stanford, MIT, Yale, UPenn, Princeton, and Columbia. 

Academic Excellence and International Recognition

Ilok’s journey to securing these scholarships began with her performance in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) in Nigeria, where she was recognized as the top performer by the British Council, according to Punchng.

Ilok’s mind led her to develop software that employs Machine Learning algorithms to detect breast cancer in women, achieving an impressive accuracy rate of 91%.

She won the prestigious RISE program in 2022, when she was 16 which includes scholarships for university education.

For her RISE project, she developed a program called “CodEd” which provided teacher training, student curriculum, and internship opportunities to improve computer science education in public schools compared to private schools.

A Role Model for Aspiring Nigerian Students

Alex Onyia, an education advocate and CEO of Educare, shared Ilok’s accomplishments on his social media platform, highlighting her talents.

“Emmanuela IIok has been awarded the best graduating student for Greensprings School IB,” he wrote.

“I think she will choose MIT to advance her research. She is a perfect example of beauty and brains, and she is fearless!”

Onyia also organized a virtual gathering where Ilok shared her journey and offered guidance to other Nigerian students on how to navigate similar opportunities. 

Ilok’s success story resonates with a broader call to support and empower young talents in Nigeria.

Feature Image Credit: The Guardian Nigeria

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.