From Lagos to Lehigh

Ekom Uko

While many Lehigh students hail from the northeastern United States, Ekom Uko ’14 can count herself among the students who live an ocean and roughly 5,400 miles from campus.

Uko, an electrical engineering major, was born and lived her early life in Lagos, Nigeria, which is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

She then moved to a smaller town in the middle of nowhere, as she describes it, for high school. “I went to a boarding school, so I didn't really ‘grow up’ in the town,” she says. “More like, I grew up in the school.”

Uko’s school had a huge campus, and its students were generally kept within its walls. Her family later moved to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, which she now calls home.

When it came time for college, Uko found it to be quite tough to apply to schools from abroad and to be unable to visit them.

“However, once I read about Lehigh, watched some lip-syncing videos (over and over again) and Google-Imaged Lehigh’s campus, I knew this was the place for me,” she says.

“I always wanted to study in a small college,” she says. “I wanted a school good in engineering, but also one that strengthens students outside the classroom.”

Uko was very involved in high school, and she yearned for a college experience that would challenge her academically, but also help her develop leadership, communication, interpersonal, organizational and problem-solving skills. “Lehigh offered these opportunities, and I went for it,” she says.

Indeed, Uko has taken full advantage of such opportunities during her time here. She is an Orientation Leader, an intern in the Admissions Office, a colony sister of engineering and technical sciences sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon, and the Vice President of the Rossin Junior Fellows engineering honors program. She also coordinates and leads the LU International Diplomats, is in the Tau Beta Pi Honors Fraternity, and has an engineering co-op with Lutron Electronics.

“I can say that two of my favorite things about Lehigh are the people and the opportunities,” Uko says. “I have met great people here who have made huge impacts on my life … and the opportunities here are endless.

“Coming to Lehigh was the best decision I ever made,” she says. “Lehigh has been my home for three years now, and I am very comfortable here. I have met amazing people and made great relationships with people from all over the world. I have learned to step out of my comfort zone and experience new things, and as a result, I have had numerous adventures.”