Community activism and passion for diversity in STEM

CSE student plans to give back to her community

Omonigho Egi’s path to the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering can be traced back to her childhood in Woodbury—specifically, to the iPod Touch she received as a Christmas gift in the fifth grade. 

“It was my first device, and it started something in me,” she said. “I really liked technology starting at a young age. I liked being able to customize things, and create things … it felt very creative to me, in a tangible way.”  

The following year, Egi started learning to code through a STEM initiative at her middle school. When she entered high school, she took an introductory computer science class, followed by a variety of STEM classes. 

“I think what I really love about the U is that it’s not too hard to find someone else who’s interested in the same things you are and connect with them,” said Egi.

Her experience in activism influenced her decision to apply for the 2022-23 University of Minnesota Scholarship in honor of George Floyd.

“I actually co-led a protest in Woodbury after George Floyd was murdered,” she said. “[Receiving the scholarship] made me really proud that I’d done that work because diversity and inclusion is so important to me. It’s at the core of my being. It’s never going to go away. I’m never going to stop caring about it.” 

Egi, who also received the U of M Cargill thrive Scholarship and CSE Hopper-Dean Scholarship honoring Dr. Vipin Kumar, mentored youth in “Introduction to Python” and “Scratch” classes at Minnehaha Academy. She was active in student organizations, including Black Student Union, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the college's Science and Engineering Student Board. 

Today, she is a software strategy associate at the consulting firm EY-Parthenon in Los Angeles.

“When I chose [to major in] computer science I wasn’t 100% sure it was the right major for me because I didn’t know anyone around me who was a software engineer, or in the tech industry,” she explained. “That’s another reason that I’m so passionate about diversity in STEM—because not every kid has the opportunity to be exposed to coding at a young age, like I did.” 

Read more about her time at the University of Minnesota in "STEM ambassador" and "CSpotlight: Embracing Opportunities."