Emmanuel Johnson - Excellence
Emmanuel Johnson knows a great deal about overcoming adversities.
Though he lacked stellar academics in high school, he held tight to his goal of going to college. Then, after just one semester at North Carolina A&T, he realized he didn’t have the money needed to continue his studies.
“I almost didn’t come back,” he said.
But instead, he applied for every scholarship he qualified for and also sought help from those who had always been in his corner. He ultimately received the support and encouragement he needed.
Through his insatiable desire to succeed, the senior computer engineering major is now the university’s first student Fulbright Scholar.
“The award embodies my collegiate experience,” he said. “Honestly, it gives me a lot more confidence in my abilities. Anything is attainable through a relentless work ethic and dedication to your ultimate goal.”
With the award, Johnson, 22, is pursuing a one-year master’s degree in robotics from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Eventually, he wants to pursue a doctorate and return to A&T to start a robotics lab while also working as an industry consultant.
From the application to receiving the honor, the entire process has been a rewarding experience, Johnson said. It has helped him to improve his writing and expand his global perspective. It also motivated him to dig deep and find out what he really wants to do.
Johnson was born in Liberia and grew up in New Brunswick, N.J. During his tenure at the university, he received a number of scholarships, awards and recognitions. He also served in many leadership positions, including his role as president of the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
In addition, he served on the Chancellor’s Academic Review Commission, the Regional Board of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and as an Aggie Mentor through the Center for Academic Excellence.
Studying computer engineering has been challenging and rewarding for Johnson.
“It allows me to be creative with the knowledge that I’ve gained,” he said. “Once I know how to program, I don’t have to wait to be hired for a job. I can do my own thing.”
During his freshman and sophomore years, Johnson had the opportunity to do robotics work at the University of Michigan. In the summer of 2012, he conducted robotics research at Carnegie Mellon University and returned again this past summer before heading oversees to begin his master’s study.
Overseas, Johnson looks forward to embracing other cultures while working toward his academic goals. He also hopes to help other Aggies who seek to study abroad and also those who want to apply to for Fulbright scholarships.
“It’s not where you start, but where you envision yourself and how hard you’re willing to work to get to that point,” Johnson said. “I didn’t get here by myself. There were others who supported me, mentored me and pushed me. They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I always felt like it was right that I give back.”