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The incredible Oluwami (Wami) Dosunmu-Ogunbi has made history as the first black woman to earn a PhD in Robotics from the renowned University of Michigan. Her achievement is not only a personal milestone but also a symbol of the growing diversity in STEM fields.

Wami has been an active community builder in robotics. Her work specializes in stair-climbing algorithms for bipedal robots. She’s presented her work at numerous conferences and has actively engaged in outreach, inspiring young girls from “Girls Who Code” and participating in the National Society of Black Engineers conventions.

She holds a Ph.D. and two master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is committed to mentoring future engineers and hopes to become a professor. She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the GEM Fellowship, Rackham Merit Fellowship, and the MLK Spirit Award from the College of Engineering for mentoring and inspiration.

In her speech at the commencement ceremony where she shared how her PhD journey began. She mentioned that the hat—a hexagonal velvet beret with a golden tassel—sold her on dedicating half a decade or so to the research enterprise after wearing her bachelor’s mortarboard.

Wami also shared how her journey wasn’t free from challenges as she had initially failed her qualifying exams in the mechanical engineering PhD program. However, with the support from her mentors, including professors Chad Jenkins and Jessy Grizzle, she was able to scale through the inclusive environment of the Robotics program at Michigan.

As she addressed her fellow graduates at the commencement ceremony, Wami emphasized the importance of inclusion, intellectual curiosity, and the role of engineers in serving the common good.

Wami’s success is truly inspiring and shows that with passion, perseverance, and the right support, barriers can be broken, and history can be made. We’re proud of Wami and we hope her story inspires you to do more!