Oliver Arukwe of the Chemical Engineering Department (ChE) is one of “two outstanding undergraduate scientists” being honored by the UMass Amherst BRiDGE Program as the 2022 recipients of the BRiDGE to Education Award. See the announcement on twitter.
BRiDGE is a student-led initiative to highlight scholars from a variety of backgrounds. The BRiDGE to Education Award was founded in 2021 when BRiDGE UMass received an honorarium for hosting a workshop and decided to pass on the funds to dedicated undergraduate scholars pursuing a more compassionate and equitable future through their scientific accomplishments.
Arukwe is a fourth-year, chemical engineering student devoted to creating a clean energy future through advancements in the renewable energy and sustainable technology sector. He prioritizes the values of self-development, respect, and creativity in his lifestyle and is inspired by American author and social activist Bell Hooks' acknowledgment that, “What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe.”
As the BRiDGE Program explains in a letter to the campus community, “We founded BRiDGE to increase the representation and amplify the voices of early career scientists from underrepresented groups to address a specific problem we observed in our community: the attrition of underrepresented graduate [and undergraduate] students.”
According to the BRiDGE website, the program “will increase the diversity of invited speakers on campus while providing a space for open and constructive conversations between current graduate students and early career researchers on the obstacles faced by underrepresented groups in STEM. In addition to highlighting the contributions of underrepresented scientists, BRiDGE provides invited early career researchers with a platform for sharing their research and establishing collaborations at a leading research university.” (June 2022)