While attending the University of Houston-Downtown, Thelma Ugwu placed in Who’s Who in American Colleges before graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. For more than a decade, Thelma Ugwu served as a respiratory therapist for a healthcare facility in McKinney, Texas. There, the National Board for Respiratory Care member performed a number of techniques, including bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP), bronchoscopies, and ventilator treatments, while teaching new staff members, as well.

Currently, Thelma Ugwu performs as the Director for the Centre for Health, Education, Economic Rehabilitation and Social Security (CHEERS), a nongovernmental organization founded five years ago. CHEERS strives to improve the conditions of life for people in Nigeria and promote democracy throughout the region. As Director, Ugwu creates programs of action that contribute toward the organization’s four main goals. AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis remain as significant health problems in Nigeria, and she seeks to curtail these epidemics. Understanding the importance of education in building sustainable communities, Thelma Ugwu develops activities such as literacy classes for all ages, scholarship opportunities, and other such programs. Along with encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit among the citizenry, Ugwu networks with donors to microfinance new projects. In terms of social security, CHEERS advocates for peace building, widows’ rights, and an increased allocation of resources to orphans.

Aside from her initiatives with CHEERS, Thelma Ugwu aids local churches in their philanthropic endeavors, including feeding the homeless. Also the Vice President of the CoalCity Social Club, Inc., Thelma Ugwu relaxes by reading John Grisham, traveling to exotic locations, and dancing.