This has been a hard week and it has taken me some time to figure out what to do to honor Ngozi, an amazing student, friend, mentor, and role model. Today we begin celebrating those who are graduating, including Katie, Justin, and Marcus, and I wanted to make sure in remembering Ngozi we remember how proud she would have been of these three students who she worked so closely with in the lab. She would want to make sure they got the celebration and recognition they deserved and in writing this today I hope to let them know how proud Ngozi would be of them.
Sadly, Ngozi passed away on Sunday, May 14, 2017, in New Orleans where she was pursuing a PhD in Genetics. Ngozi was a member of the lab from 2015-2017 . She worked on the Notch project and completed her master's thesis in May 2017. When I met Ngozi she barely knew how to search for literature, but she worked hard to learn how to not only find relevant papers, but learned quickly how to read, understand, present, and write about the literature in her field. Ngozi took all opportunities afforded to her, presenting at local and international conferences and participated in the LBRN summer program where she first met her PhD advisor, Dr. Lucio Miele. Ngozi was awarded ANS minigrants, was an ANS Featured Student, and was a GA for our introductory biology labs where she interacted with over 200 of our undergraduates in the two years she spent at Louisiana Tech.
Although she was an excellent student, Ngozi was so much more to so many of us. The lab is really a family and Ngozi was always there for those around her. She mentored younger students in the lab, not just with their lab work, but their course work and was there for them when they needed a friend, encouragement, or support. As the PI I'm sure I only know half of the friend Ngozi was to those in the lab and in the department, but her love for those students was obvious.
Ngozi graduated in May and moved to New Orleans over the summer where she quickly found another lab family who was there for her to the end. It was easy to love Ngozi and it is no surprise to hear how much she impacted those around her in such a short period of time. There are no words to describe the sadness we are feeling with this loss in our Newman Lab family. Ngozi will be remembered for her warmth, compassion, and loving spirit. We love you and miss you!
Dr. Jamie Newman
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences