Thee ‘STEM queen’: Upcoming JSU grad sets sights on graduate degree and prestigious Lockheed Martin internship

(JACKSON, Miss.) — After Jackson State University (JSU) senior Nia Hodges walks across the stage on Saturday with the Class of 2022, she will next pursue her Master’s of Science in data analytics and statistics at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to deciding to go to grad school, Hodges consciously weighed her options: Accept a full-time job offer or pursue her master’s degree, having several admissions letters laid before her. Ultimately, Hodges decided to intern this summer with Lockheed Martin as she strategically prepares for her master’s studies slated to begin in the fall.

Hodges looks forward to what the future holds for her journey as she intends to work within The McKelvy School of Engineering at the institution, She was selected to be a fellow for the department chair and will be tasked with conducting meticulous research in her field of interest. 

“I will forever be grateful for this institution because they recognized my potential before I could recognize it myself,” says  the Tuscaloosa, Alabama native as she reflects on her empowering experience at JSU. ” 

Passionate about improving her craft, the computer science major consistently set the bar of excellence higher regardless of obstacles placed in her pathway. She secured three stellar internships over the past three years. During her tenure, Hodges also secured a position within the department of computer science as a research assistant, revealing to her the level of insight and work ethic required in her field of work.

“[E]nrolling at Jackson State University was an excellent choice. The people there helped me obtain internships and research opportunities that opened doors I did not know existed,” Hodges says.  

Arriving at such a monumental turning point in her life, Hodges honors her community of family members, peers, mentors and professors who empowered her to trust in her abilities and let her confidence be the driving force in life. 

“I want to thank my parents, professors, and mentors because without them, I would not have had the confidence to take so many risks,” she shares. 

Aside from her technological prowess, Hodges is an active student leader on campus. She is first vice president of the Delta Pi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an experience which has instilled in her the value of academic excellence and the virtue of service to her community. 

She intends to one day invest back into the institution where it all began for her, and hopes to empower the next generation of STEM students to work hard and become unwavering in the pursuit of their future. 

“Because of what JSU has done for me, my future plan is to give back to my alma mater and help aspiring STEM students earn their seat at the table.”