Blerds Physics Science Tech

How Obiageli Nwodoh learnt to use physics in her social justice work

Obiageli Nwodoh is an MIT alumnus, having studied physics at the prestigious university. Her love of the world and the ability to explain how things worked through quantifiable means led her towards data analytics, machine learning, and programming. However, she didn’t stay in those fixed realms for long as she became interested in economic justice and how her family got financial help through antipoverty charities:

[…] “It helped us immensely with paying bills, funding extracurricular programs, and more,” she says.

The final click for her was during an internship with a defense contractor, which didn’t match with her political views. She wanted to take her career in a more people-focused direction, so as a sophomore, she enrolled in classes and extracurricular activities that stoked her interests in social justice, science activism, public policy, and equity and diversity.

That’s when dawned on this physics student that she wanted to be a lawyer. And she was surprised at how well the two disparate fields complemented each other.

Obiageli earnt her bachelor of science in 2021 and now works as a paralegal for Ropes & Gray LLP, a global law firm with a background of significant cases. She’s currently looking into law schools and hopes to use more of that tech she studied, particularly regarding algorithm biases:

I have cherished how being a physicist has prepared me to not be a physicist,” she says. “Physics taught me the importance of problem-solving which could be applied in other areas of my life and interests. The technical skills could be used to ‘hack’ different parts of my world. Physics and the law come down to the same thing: interacting with the world in a profound way. MIT taught me that there is always space for my skills in every nook and cranny of the world’s biggest questions. I feel like my work as a physicist has prepared me to delve deeper into any issue, and holds me to an ethical standard of doing so.”

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