Uzoamaka N. Okoye, Esq.
Proud native of Liberia and Nigeria, Uzoamaka Okoye was attending boarding school in Springfield, Mass., when civil war in Liberia caused her to make the United States her permanent home. “The adjustment came a year later, after realizing that our lives were changed completely because of political instability. It was a very difficult time for my family,” Okoye says. At American University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with plans to become a physician, Okoye was drawn to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Beyond community outreach, the sorority prepared her for the professional workforce. “Speaking in front of all these really smart, intelligent women hones your skills. Long before I had to stand up in court, I had to convince and lead these women,” she explains.
Okoye changed her career course to environmental engineering, completed a master’s degree at Polytechnic University and joined Metcalf & Eddy (M&E) as an environmental engineer. While designers at M&E were working on the design for the Croton Water Filtration Plant, she was so intrigued by the legal debates over placement of the plant that she obtained a law degree from Rutgers University in 2006. The Women of Color in the Law collective, a mentoring program established by Paulette Brown, a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, continues to have a “monumental impact” on Okoye’s professional growth and achievements. “It provided advice, counsel, friendship and a safe place to talk,” she says.
Okoye enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels, saying, “I find it to be a great escape.” She serves the community through her sorority’s local chapter and as a board member of the African Services Committee and Leadership Through Sports, but dreams of working on her family’s estate in Liberia, primarily on farming operations and assisting the local elementary school.