From Africa to America to Europe, Judith Onyango Howerton’s passion for international development has carried her across many borders. Despite financial restrictions, she managed to cross country lines and follow her passion—international development.
Howerton ’04 grew up in Kenya and attended the University of Maryland as a self-sponsored student after obtaining a U.S. green card. Upon her arrival at the university, Howerton studied government and politics, but also took French courses and applied to live in the Language House on campus. Once in the Language House, she attended a seminar on studying abroad and to her surprise, Howerton learned that if she participated in a Maryland affiliated program, she could apply all of her financial aid to studying abroad. Howerton spent her spring 2003 semester abroad in Nice, France, and improved her French language skills.
Howerton continued to be involved with the Language House for the rest of her college years and upon graduation, accepted a position teaching English in Bayonne, France, during the 2004-05 school year. “My first passion is international relations and international development. My second is French. Luckily for me, I could marry the two,” says Howerton.
In Fall 2006, Howerton enrolled in graduate school and received a scholarship to study urban planning at Morgan State University. “I studied urban planning to acquire skill sets that could be useful and translatable for working in international development in sub-Saharan Africa,” Howerton explains. After completing three year-long internships, Howerton culminated her graduate work by conducting her thesis: ‘Decision-making Institutions in Urban Transportation Planning in Nairobi, Kenya.’
Howerton credits Maryland’s facilities, programs and activities, as well as encouragement from her teachers and teacher’s assistants for her success. Now that she has received her degree from Morgan State University, Howerton will use a Fulbright grant to travel to Dakar, Senegal, to further promote Africa’s development.