MEET THE QUEEN
Identified as a first generation “African-American with Nigerian parentage”, Miss Frances Onyemaechi Udukwu is a manifestation of a hybrid cultural upbringing which has directly influenced who she is today. Being raised in a traditional Nigerian household within American society, has presented some challenges. In grade school, her mother would style her hair in a traditional Igbo-Nigerian fashion, using black thread-like strings called, “aewoo.” Students would crowd around her, pointing and taunting, simply because of a hairstyle which they were unfamiliar with, and did not understand. She soon realized that, not only did my hair give away her African heritage, but her last name did as well, ‘Udukwu’. To some, such encounters might have spawned defensiveness, anger and even isolation. To the contrary, not only did Frances gain a greater awareness of her unique heritage, but also an acute appreciation of being a product of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and an obligation to expose and promote the beauty in African’s traditions and culture. To be certain, her cultural diversity has been an enriching and positive aspect of her development, and has also been reflective in her professional life. As a results-driven professional with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Health care Systems Management from Temple University; and a career in health care consulting, Frances brings 3 years of experience across the healthcare sector in marketing, consulting, policy, research, insurance access, and delivery of care.
Frances’ work as a consultant gives her the opportunity to work in a multicultural setting and impact specifically the Veteran population’s well-being. Neighboring the roles and responsibilities of her most recent position; in fall 2011, Frances worked for the D.C. Mayor’s Office on African Affairs. Prior to concluding her tenure there, she performed qualitative policy research on the impact of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) on the District’s African immigrant population, a demographic at high risk for welfare assistance and thus a focal point of her Office’s outreach efforts to ensure that this population is able to receive appropriate resources to live healthy in DC. These local yet valuable experiences illuminate her potential of becoming an effective leader of action and change, no matter the environment. Frances demonstrates a commitment to service generally, and a career supporting the under served, particularly. She is convinced that the Miss Africa USA Pageant’s mission to assist young African women trailblazers, like myself, to seize the opportunity that America presents to advocate for the less fortunate will best enable her to shine the spotlight on Nigeria, tell her story, inspire others and most importantly, service humanity
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