Catholic Standard El Pregonero
Classifieds Buy Photos

Seton senior named Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship recipient

Tineta Nkoronye of the class of 2024 at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg will attend Howard University this fall. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Seton High School)

Tineta Nkoronye – who this year graduates from Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Maryland with a 4.4 grade point average – was honored earlier this spring when she was named as a recipient of an Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship.

Nkoronye was one of about 400 students nationwide to be so recognized, and the only student from a Catholic school located in the state of Maryland to be awarded that scholarship. Amazon launched the Future Engineer Scholarship in 2019 and to date has awarded $54 million to more than 1,300 students.

“I was really excited. When I told my mom, we were jumping up and down and screaming,” Nkoronye recalled.

Nkoronye, a first-generation Nigerian-American, is the daughter of Immaculata and Martins Nkoronye of Bowie. She has an older sister, a younger sister who also attends Seton and a younger brother who is a student at St. Pius X Regional School in Bowie. The family attends St. Pius X Church.

The scholarship was presented to Nkoronye and other regional winners April 11 at ceremony at Amazon’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Recipients receive a scholarship of $40,000 ($10,000 per year) towards an undergraduate degree in engineering or computer science. They are also offered a summer internship at Amazon after their freshman year of college to gain hands-on, practical work experience.

Scholarships are awarded based a student’s academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need.

In addition, Amazon scholars are offered networking opportunities with Amazon employees, can access skills development and mental health resources, and can apply to an emergency grant fund to meet unexpected financial problems that might prevent them from attending school.

In announcing the award, Kelly Ross, Amazon’s program manager for the Future Engineer Scholarship, highlighted Nkoronye’s “passion and achievement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)” and her “academic performance and extracurricular engagement.”

At Seton, Nkoronye said she was exposed to a variety of science options, taking classes in engineering, honors chemistry and other courses where she became interested in molecular structures, regenerative medicine and genetics.

As a student at Seton, she complemented her interest in STEM by participating in robotics and the biotech clubs. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the school’s “It’s Academic” team. She also completed a science internship with the Library of Congress.

“Seton really empowers their students to pursue their passions and make meaningful contributions to society,” she said of her tenure at the all-girls school sponsored by the Daughters of Charity.

Outside of Seton, she mentored young people through the 100 Black Men of America program which seeks to empower African Americans through education and other outreach, through the Pathways to Success and through the Saturday Leadership Academy, which she explained, “encourages Black youths to empower ourselves through academics and skills such as public speaking and financial literacy.”

Nkoronye has participated in Kode With Klossy, a computer coding camp for girls ages 13-18 and Destination Imagination, where teams of students solve open-ended, STEAM-focused challenges and present their solutions at tournaments. She was also active in For Future Lungs, a nonprofit organization that promotes anti-smoking efforts and raises awareness about respiratory health, and Maker Girl, where she worked with girls in the second through fifth grades on STEM related activities.

In the fall, she will attend Howard University after being awarded a prestigious and highly competitive Karsh STEM scholarship.

The scholarship program was established by Howard to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who earn a Ph.D., or combined MD-Ph.D. in STEM-related disciplines. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board, book fees and other education-related expenses. Only about 5 percent of students who apply to the program are accepted.

Nkoronye said she will enter the university majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in computer science, but that is subject to change – she is considering switching to a major in computer science with a minor in biology and chemistry.

“I am hoping to get my Ph.D. in computational biology and bioinformatics, but I am still looking into my options,” she said. She said she is interested in a career that “uses coding and data applications to sort biological processes.”

Nkoronye said she sees no dichotomy between her deep faith and her deep interest in science.

“I am Catholic, and a lot of people think that science and Catholicism don’t mix … but there is a lot of intersection and overlap. I want to use my science to do what Jesus tells us to do – that is to help others,” she said. “I feel like science is in and of itself motivated by trying to help other people. Science motivates me to help other people.”