First Ever UMBC Rhodes Scholar to be Hosted By Sen. Cardin at State of Union

Rhodes Scholar recipient from UMBC, Naomi Mburu, will be hosted by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD) at the State of the Union address on Tuesday. PHOTO: by Marlayna Demond, Courtesy of UMBC

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) announced that Ms. Naomi Mburu, a chemical engineering major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will be his guest at the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 30. Ms. Mburu of Ellicott City, Md., is UMBC’s first-ever recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and one of 32 Americans selected this year.

“Naomi Mburu is an inspiration for young girls and young women who see someone like them excelling in science and engineering. As a top student at UMBC, and mentor to many, Ms. Mburu is already making a difference in the lives of those around her,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to bring this exceptional daughter of immigrants to our Nation’s Capitol for this special event. Ms. Mburu personifies the diverse future of this country and what can be achieved through hard work, dedication and a passion for science, technology, engineering and math the more we can highlight great success stories like Ms. Mburu, the more we can spread that enthusiasm for STEM to others. I appreciate UMBC’s commitment to promoting our underserved communities in the STEM fields and will continue to advocate for federal funding that ensures everyone like Ms. Mburu who are willing to work, explore, and discover has a seat at the computer, microscope, or table.”

“We are very proud of Naomi Mburu’s achievements and delighted for her to be recognized in this way. Her selection as UMBC’s first Rhodes Scholar reflects a tremendous amount of hard work, a passion for discovery, intensive mentorship, and community support — all of which are emblematic of the UMBC experience,” UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski added.

According to UMBC, Ms. Mburu is involved with research and scholars programs, and is a leader in many student organizations. As a Meyerhoff Scholar, she is a peer mentor for freshmen and sophomores pursuing chemical engineering. Mburu is also a MARC U*STAR Trainee. The Meyerhoff Scholars Program and the National Institute of Health’s MARC U*STAR Scholars Programs aim to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who pursue Ph.D.s in STEM fields. She has a passion for supporting STEM education and increasing diversity in STEM fields, which led to her involvement with programs and organizations with similar missions. 

Ms. Mburu represents a larger story of UMBC’s commitment to supporting diverse students in STEM. UMBC is a top public research university known for innovative teaching, relevant research across disciplines, and a supportive, inclusive community of 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students. UMBC leads the nation in producing African American undergraduates who pursue M.D.-Ph.D.s., and is recognized more broadly for supporting women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, from chemical engineering to computer science.