2023 Wade Scholars

We are pleased to announce the 2023 Wade Scholars!

Recipients from the USA are from MIT, Brown University, and Vanderbilt University.

One international awardee is from Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (Ethiopia).

These scholars will pursue degrees in Mechanical Engineering; Computer Science; Management Science & Engineering; and Civil & Environmental Engineering.

Click on the pictures for the introductions.

Selam Gano

Selam earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and plans to continue studying mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in a joint MS/MBA program.

At some point most people dream of having a superpower. For Selam Gano that desire was sparked and fed by engineer/inventor characters Iron Man and Riri Williams/ Ironheart.


Despite the ability of superheroes to single-handedly solve complex problems, Selam recognizes that solidarity and community-building are the best real-world approaches for sustainable solutions. She is an active member of Women in Robotics and participated in several campus cultural clubs.

Her efforts to build better communities already extend beyond campus. Selam secured funding and managed the Muti Water Project to design and build a more sustainable clean water source for a town in southern Ethiopia. She has worked in Shanghai on the design and fabrication of mechanical components for a supply chain robotic arm and vision system, then as a research firm Principal Investigator on an autonomous robot tick survey for disease analysis. She also led a program developing a Robotic Integration Kit for first responder chemical ID sensors.


These experiences have cemented Selam’s goal of working as a leader who creates solidarity and community through inclusivity, particularly in technology fields.

“I want to experiment with even bolder career moves, perhaps with businesses operating primarily on the African continent, through entrepreneurship or mission-oriented work. My goal is to grow as a modern technology leader while staying true to my values.”

Bruno Felalaga

Bruno earned a BSc in Electrical Engineering from Brown University and plans to earn a master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Chicago.

Programming codes aren’t the only languages Bruno Felalaga speaks. In addition to fluency in five languages he is actively studying two others in his spare time. It’s more than a hobby—it speaks to his desire to forge connections.


That desire is evident in his memberships in the National Society of Black Engineers and the Brown University avionics team. It’s evident in his participation in the International Mentorship Program and Excellence at Brown, which mentors first-year students. It’s also evident in how he teaches through the Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentorship program, built a library in rural Ghana through Davis Projects for Peace, and helps fundraise for a school in Ghana through Do Remember Other People.


Bruno is particularly inspired by AI teams researching agricultural solutions to be applied across Africa. He hopes to take all his interests, experiences, and his passion for bringing people together to not only become a well-rounded engineer, but someone who cultivates connections between academia and industry to address ongoing issues with renewed perspectives.

“Increased representation brings with it insightful conversations and ideas that lead to great impact. I want to use my education to contribute to finding innovative solutions. I also hope to elicit interest and engagement with technology among marginalized pupils.”

Tre (William) Sands

Tre earned a bachelor’s of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. He plans to earn a master’s degree in Management Science & Engineering at Cornell University.

Things seemed to come easily to Tre Sands. He was a successful high school athlete and scholar, but a bad college exam experience helped him realize he had to work harder at prioritizing his academics along with his many interests.

Now he has a more balanced view of how the moving pieces in his life contribute to who he is and how he shows up in the world. A large part of that relates to representation and building community.

Tre has taken part in the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and, through Omega Psi Phi fraternity, worked on canned food drives and setting up homeless shelter locations around Nashville. He has also volunteered at a special needs elementary school and held a school supply drive.

In the end, it comes down to realizing the growth he can achieve by challenging himself while serving as a role model to others.

“Having our culture as an integral part of society can help our people get a foothold in influential positions within society. My career goal is to return to the workforce as a mechanical engineer. Eventually, I would like to serve as the chief executive officer of an innovative engineering firm. I want to continue to inspire younger children to participate in activities that lead to careers in STEM fields.”

Lidiya Atsebeha

Lidiya earned a BSc with distinction from Addis Ababa Institute of Technology and plans to earn a master’s degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Ohio State University.

Lidiya Atsebeha views the world through a different lens. As an avid photographer she tries to capture natural beauty and instill a sense of awe, awareness, and responsibility for its protection. But she also sees challenges differently—each one is an opportunity to solve another.

It centers on creating connections for positive well-being and outcomes. Lidiya has tutored two high school students for free because she sees their future potential. She has worked as an assistant teacher at Gonder University’s Girls Can Code program for high school students. And she participated in a university club that provides students with soft skill training and job creation.

In terms of her own potential, Lidiya has interned with two engineering companies to gain exposure not only to the various stages of construction but the crucial role of engineers in minimizing resource and cost impacts. She plans to open her own construction firm and focus on collaborative, quality construction while boosting the number of young, skilled professionals.

“Human resources development is the most fundamental way for the construction sector to acquire the capabilities needed to achieve its desired future state. I want to focus on empowering youth talents and exchange programs to unlock youth potential and invest in the continent’s prosperity.”