By Ifeanyi Chijindu
The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation recently
awarded Cal Poly Pomona student Ijeoma Onuoha a scholarship for
Onuoha is working toward obtaining her Bachelor’s of Science
degree in landscape architecture, planning to graduate in 2010.
Onuoha came upon the Business and Professional Women’s
Foundation during her quest for educational assistance.
“I was looking for ways to pay for college,” said Onuoha. “I won
three out of the 10 scholarships I applied for.”
Although Onuoha faced many trials and tribulations throughout
her educational journey, she is determined to fulfill her career
goal of working as a landscape architect.
Born in Pasadena, California as the eldest of five children,
Ijeoma spent her childhood and adolescence in the capital city of
Lagos, Nigeria with her parents and younger siblings.
“I’m the trendsetter of my family,” Onuoha said.
Onuoha returned, alone, to California in July 2001, where she
applied to Pasadena City College and began school in August of the
There, Onuoha worked diligently to support herself financially
while she balanced work and school, despite setbacks in fulfilling
her GE requirements.
“It took me a little longer than others [at PCC] because I
worked as a lab tech on the school campus and even though I had
college credit in Nigeria, when I came back [to America], I had to
Onuoha finished PCC and began her educational career at Cal Poly
this fall quarter.
Since Onuoha “loves design,” her first choice was architecture,
but difficulties penetrating the compacted program made her go with
her second choice, landscape architecture, and she’s very happy
with how it worked out.
Landscape architecture will allow her to express her design
interests since landscape architects concern themselves “with the
outside environment; shrubs, trees, [greenery] as well as water
Onuoha said the difference between regular architects and her
chosen area lies with how “architects focus on the design of the
building while landscape architects [concentrate] on the outside
The scholarship gave Onuoha $2,000, which will be equally
dispersed each quarter until June 2007. This scholarship helps
Onuoha with her room and board, her biggest expenses.
Since 1969, the BPW Foundation established the Career
Advancement Scholarship Program specifically to provide financial
assistance to women over 25 years old seeking to advance their
education and career opportunities.
This year alone, scholarship awards totaled $82,000, and since
its formation the Foundation awarded more than $6 million in
scholarships, research grants and loans.
Even though Onuoha will need to look for other ways to pay for
school in the spring, she remains very enthusiastic about her
future and grateful for all she has accomplished and experienced,
especially when it comes to Cal Poly.
“I love how Cal Poly [emphasizes] learning by doing. It really
works for me since I’d rather do that than be sitting in lectures.
I also love the quarter system because it’s fast and it motivates
me to finish all my work.”
Ifeanyi Chijindu can be reached by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at (909) 869-3747.
Onuoha Recognized by Women’s Foundation
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