Nathaniel Donkoh-Moore, Third-Year Student, Systems Engineering

People become engineers because they have a passion for creating knowledge and technologies that serve society. UVA Engineering’s "For Good" series shares their voices.

UVA Engineering, Nathaniel Donkoh-Moore, for good

Growing up in Ghana, I realized I did not have the necessary resources to be the kind of engineer some people aspired to be. The closest to an engineer I saw were the mechanics who fixed cars next to my school. My siblings and I did get a laptop eventually, but I didn’t have access to the internet until I moved to the United States. I came to college realizing that some people had surpassed me in various ways as a result. So I thought about that, and I decided that the best way to make sure everyone coming into college is on the same path is to make sure people have the necessary resources to learn things like programming, or be able to at least build a robot, or participate in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program once or twice in their early years. 

I believe that engineering is not just about making cool things, but also about ensuring that what you make is for the people. I have the honor of serving as president of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at UVA, and part of my mission is to make sure that we are able to reach out to communities, like those in Ghana, where schools don't necessarily have enough resources for STEM.

Nathaniel Donkoh-Moore, systems engineering, diversity, Ghana, STEM

I believe diversity on the Grounds at UVA is very important in research projects. Like someone from my background would be able to realize that, okay, people who don't have resources such as electricity may not be able to use a machine or a tool that we've built. So we have to think of how our machine can work without electricity. I believe it's really important for minorities like myself to be on a project to identify the best ways those from their backgrounds will be able to use the resource created. It's very important in the sense that it gives the opportunity to broaden the requirements for any kind of projects that we as engineers work on.

Nathaniel Donkoh-Moore, systems engineering, diversity, Ghana, STEM

I'm trying to make the world a better place by increasing STEM education in rural places. Right now, I’m working with an amazing group of NSBE at UVA members and executives to acquire computers and educational materials that we’ll send to Okra Kwadwo in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Engineering drives economies and drives lots of things. If people have a way to get exposed to STEM education, it's great for them, not only to make their lives better, but to realize that they can use their STEM knowledge to help meet the challenges in their communities. So that's why the ability to use STEM, especially engineering, to solve problems is very important.

Nathaniel Donkoh-Moore, systems engineering, diversity, Ghana, STEM