Emmanuel Abuah emigrated from Nigeria to the United States to join his parents about a year before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He set his sights on studying engineering at Virginia Tech, but quickly realized that he needed to stay closer to home and start at a more affordable school.
He applied and was accepted into Tidewater Community College’s STEM Promise program, which covers the full cost of tuition for up to four semesters.
This May, he is one of the student speakers during the virtual commencement and will talk about his journey to earning an Associate of Science in Engineering.
“My growth at TCC has not just been educational. Being from a different culture, I struggled with my accent and my lack of social integration,” Abuah said. “TCC provided the cushion I needed to help me settle in and keep me on the path to my degree.”
Abuah was recently named one of 18 honorees of the inaugural Academic Excellence and Service Award, a new recognition for exemplary TCC students.
“As one of our top performing scholars, I’m impressed with Emmanuel’s drive and work ethic. Having maintained a perfect GPA every semester, he takes his course work very seriously and has a plan to tackle his academic goals,” said Jaedda Hall, the STEM Promise program advisor.
While at TCC, Abuah worked in the Engineering lab on the Virginia Beach Campus, a job that opened doors for other work in the area. He also obtained a Virginia driver’s license, an accomplishment that gave him even more options for jobs.
He made lifelong friends through the Virginia Beach Campus Engineering Club and the STEM Promise program.
“The community of TCC has been so beneficial for me. From the friends I’ve made for keeps, to the instructors and advisors who supported, encouraged and challenged me,” he said.
For other students his message is simple. “Have a plan and seek advice. Make friends and get connected,” Abuah said. “Do more than just attend class. Get involved in all TCC has to offer.”
Abuah now plans a career in aeronautics/astronautics. He would like to be an astronaut and one day explore space.
He intends to attend Virginia Tech or Stanford University to pursue a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering.
“TCC has laid the perfect runway for my ascent to the stars,” Abuah said. “As we leave TCC with our goals in view, we are proving that it’s true – from here you really can go anywhere.”