Through Engineering, Phillips Seeks to Aid West Africa, Other Regions
BATON ROUGE - Electrical engineering junior Quentin Phillips had to be persuaded by his friends to apply and participate in the Mr. & Miss Imani Scholarship Pageant, traditionally held during Black History Month in February to honor the achievements of African-American male and female students at LSU.
Phillips, a native of St. Louis, Mo., would go on to win Mr. Imani and the $300 scholarship that came with it. But more important, was the fact that his mother had flown from St. Louis to see him participate in the event. After he won, their reunion was an emotional one.
“I rarely see her,” he said. “That is my only parent now. When you lose one [parent], you kind of love the other one even more.”
Phillips lost his father to a drunk-driving accident when he was only 3 years old. After the accident, he and his mother and grandfather traveled to Africa. At the age of four, he was introduced to Egypt. A year later, they revisited the country and it was then that he developed a passion for African art and culture.
Since then, Phillips has traveled to Africa multiple times and also visited Europe. But nothing can compare to the tranquility he feels when he is in Ghana.
“I had to find out who I was, because as a boy without a father, it was difficult for me to understand what a man is,” Phillips said. “Ghana is my favorite place in the world. It feels like home.”
Phillips added that he wants to use his degree in electrical engineering to educate those in West Africa, as well as various third-world countries and various minority groups, about utilizing their natural resources to sustain a better life.
He has also created the Sankofa Brand LLC to help with this mission. Based on the West African mythical bird, Sankofa, the clothing line was designed to inspire self-knowledge and promote a progressive attitude.
“One of the most beautiful things about engineering is the ability to solve problems,” he said. “We solve problems to make things a better place. As humans, that is our main priority.”
By Raven Nichols, Communications Intern