Original news story from UCLA Newsroom

Photo courtesy of UCLA Newsroom


In March, Morolake Omoya successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, becoming the first Black student to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

For Omoya, who goes by Rolake (pronounced raw-lah-keh), a career in science and technology is practically a family tradition. In her native Nigeria, her father, David, is a civil engineer who consults and contracts on government projects. Omoya fondly recalls her father teaching her math and physics concepts when she was young.

Her mother, Funmilola, is a professor of microbiology at Federal University of Technology, Akure. And Morolake’s brothers — two older and one younger — have advanced degrees in engineering or computer science.

Omoya is the first member of her family to study outside of Nigeria. In 2012, she took a big risk when she moved nearly 8,000 miles away to pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at UCLA. Previously, she had left Nigeria only once before, to attend a math and science camp in Uganda, when she was 15 years old.

“I wanted to blaze my own trail and study in the country I believed offered the best tertiary education at the time, so I applied to the top engineering and civil engineering schools in the United States,” she said. “UCLA caught my eye because of the weather, great dining hall food, promises of diversity and quality of the faculty and research.”


For the full article entitled “Fulfilling a family tradition but blazing her own trail,” please visit the following link: https://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/morolake-omoya-three-degrees-civil-environmental-engineering