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CCEE Ph.D. candidate chosen for Margaret McNamara Education Grant

Nancy Ingabire Abayo

CCEE Ph.D. candidate Nancy Ingabire Abayo was selected for a Margaret McNamara Education Grant. The nonprofit organization awards education grants to women scholars from developing countries and has named 531 grantees from 79 countries since 1981.

Abayo, who is from Rwanda, is advised by Drs. Ashly Cabas and Brina Montoya. Her research focuses on improving predictions of liquefaction-induced lateral spreading from seismic events. Currently, there is high variability in the predictive models, which can threaten the stability of roadways, buildings, and other civil infrastructure.

Abayo’s passion for women’s and children’s education led her to co-found Sci-Touche. Sci-Touche seeks to provide access to practical STEM education to girls in Rwanda and hopes to expand in East Africa. Abayo has spoken at the “Women in Science” segment of Waramutse Rwanda, a national television program, raising awareness about breaking barriers among women in education and the science fields and the importance of practical STEM education. 

Abayo has served as a mentor to international and multicultural female students in different capacities at Bucknell University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and a Bachelor of Art in geology, and through Sci-Touche and participated in international reconnaissance efforts following the Nippes 2021 Earthquake in Haiti. 

After graduation, Abayo will continue to invest in children’s education through Sci-Touche. Her plan is to become a professor. She hopes to contribute to higher education in STEM fields in East Africa and partner with local agencies to provide Rwandan students with the opportunity to conduct research in the fields of geology, civil engineering, earthquake engineering, and other STEM disciplines.


A version of this story was originally published by Margaret McNamara Education Grants.