Obinna John Ukwuani was born on January 11, 1991 in Washington, DC. He is a dual citizen of the United States and Nigeria with his paternal home state being Enugu, Nigeria. He was educated and raised primarily in the United States. He attended and graduated valedictorian from McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC with a focus in biotechnology. As a high school student, he led the first McKinley Technology High School robotics team to compete in the renowned US FIRST Robotics League for three consecutive years. Prior to McKinley, Obinna attended two years of secondary school in Enugu, Nigeria at Shalom Academy Nsukka and Our Lord’s Shepherd International School, respectively. Obinna will graduate December 2014 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) earning a BSc in Economics with coursework in business management.
Obinna is passionately engaged in education, social entrepreneurship, and technology. In 2012, he successfully founded and directed the Exposore Robotics program, a first-class, first-of-its-kind robotics education program in Lagos, Nigeria - the Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA).
The Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA) is an intense MIT student-facilitated five-week boarding summer program currently based in Lagos, Nigeria which teaches high school students computer programming and engineering fundamentals through building and operating robots. XRA was founded in 2011 and has since educated 113 Nigerian and Ghanian boys and girls from over 15 states free of charge. Program outcomes include students who had never seen computers before learning to code within three days, program alumni returning to their respective schools and excelling in more ways than before, significantly increased student confidence, and alumni admissions to US universities. The program is taught by globally diverse teams of MIT, Columbia University, University of Ibadan students flown into the country for six weeks. This has been accomplished through partnerships with Nigeria-based companies such as Shell Oil PLC, Interswitch LTD, and Katchey Company LTD, and First Bank Nigeria PLC, resulting in over $350,000 in financing. XRA has received considerable press coverage in Nigeria, and more recently, was featured in McKinsey & Company’s recent ‘Lions go digital’ Africa report.
In the past, Obinna has been an executive with Harambe Nigeria, a youth- and agriculture-focused start-up NGO which, over three years, raised more that $100,000 USD to operate an educational agri-business incubator, host a national business plan competition, and organize conferences to promote agriculture with the support of companies such as Shell Oil and Notore. Obinna has also been a robotics instructor with the District of Columbia Public Schools. Obinna is also a valued member of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance.
Co-founder & COO, Zwayo Technologies LLC Boston, MA
Founder & CEO, Exposure Robotics Academy Lagos, Nigeria
Vice President, Harambe Nigeria Lagos, Nigeria
Robotics Instructor, DC Career Pathways Washington, DC
Business Analyst Intern, Office of the Chief Technology Officer Washington, DC
B.Sc. Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology