Ph.D. candidate Nancy Ingabire Abayo was awarded an American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Doctoral Fellowship. The fellowship comes with a prize of $20,000 for the 2022-23 award year.
“It felt very humbling and surreal to receive the fellowship,” Abayo said. “I am very happy and grateful.”
Founded in 1881, AAUW is one of the world’s largest sources of funding for graduate women. The organization distributed more than $6 million in funding to more than 320 fellows and grantees in the 2022-23 award year.
“These prestigious awards are highly competitive and selective, and we are pleased to provide this financial support to assist you in achieving your academic and professional goals,” said AAUW CEO Gloria L. Blackwell in a letter.
Abayo, who is from Rwanda, is advised by Drs. Ashly Cabas and Brina Montoya. Her research focuses on improving predictions of liquefaction-induced lateral spreading from seismic events. She said that AAUW’s mission is near and dear to her heart.
“The amplified voices of advocacy for women and girls silence many of the other voices that I — along with my sisters and mom — heard that tried to place limitations on what we, as women and girls, can achieve, and the negative message that other girls and women around the world continue to hear,” Abayo said. “I want to contribute to this effort as much as I can through outreach projects back home in Rwanda and here in North Carolina.”
Abayo, who has a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and a Bachelor of Art in geology from Bucknell University, was recently accepted into NC State’s Preparing for the Professoriate (PTP), a highly competitive program designed to give doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars an immersive mentoring, teaching, and future faculty preparation experience. She aspires to become a professor. Abayo is also part of the National Science Foundation Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance team, conducting virtual reconnaissance after the 2021 Haiti Earthquake alongside Cabas, Dr. Chunyang Ji and Cristina Lorenzo-Velazquez.