TRiO Spotlight: Tess Ngochi, Lilly Endowment Winner


Tess Ngochi is a 2017 graduate of James Whitcomb Riley High School of South Bend, Indiana. Graduating with academic and technical honors, Tess also served as the secretary of the National Honor Society, is the co-founder of a student organization, Project Lead the Way, a member of the Riley High School volleyball, swim, and golf teams, a soloist in the Indiana State School Music Association, a Hodari Scholar, and played several leading roles in theater at her alma mater. As a member of Riley’s Engineering Magnet Program, Tess received the award for outstanding achievement due to her annual accomplishments at the Indiana Science Olympiad and more recently, her efforts as a member of the RHS Rocketry Team – which made her (and five other Lady Colonials) a national finalist in the Team America Rocketry Challenge in Washington, DC.

In addition to her academic involvement, Tess was a 2017 debutante for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, a student leader for Upward Bound, and actively serves as a volunteer for several community organizations.

Due to her endless academic and community involvement, Tess is a 2017 recipient of the Lilly Endowment (the second Lilly winner in the last two years for ND TRiO) and has participated in programs at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and Columbia University in New York. Tess is also a recipient of the Italian-American Scholarship and Comcast Cares.

As a Balfour Scholar, Tess will take her talents to the University of Notre Dame this fall to major in engineering.