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Photo Credit - Slim Photography

Chidera Umeadi

Communications Regional Lead

STEMi Makers Africa

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Do what you love and, if that is pursuing STEM, put all your efforts and make it work for you.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

Currently, I am a mechanical engineering undergraduate.

In my free time, I volunteer at STEMi (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation) Makers Africa, which is a Non-Governmental Organization that prepares young talents for Africa’s Workforce across 17 Sub-Saharan Countries.

At STEMi Makers Africa, a community network of over 140 members from different countries, I deliver awareness and impact-driven conversations to drive community/volunteer engagement. I also act as a point of contact for communications by disseminating valuable information through monthly newsletters and effectively seeing to the prompt response of enquiries of new volunteers and community members.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

In Africa, Nigeria especially, there is a lot of stereotypes about women and what women should do, say or wear. I want to change that narrative for African girls and women. The world is changing rapidly and Africa is lagging behind. Although there have been improvements in the past few years, there is still do much to be done. Africa has to do better. We need to do better.

I have been passionate about STEM and women in STEM for as long as I can remember. I always dreamed of building stuff and designing cars, machinery, and tools to shape humanity for the better.

I knew I wanted to have a career in STEM right from my early days in high school days. I was always drawn to things of STEM, so fascinated and excited by science (atoms, ions, molecules, charges, studying these charges….) technology, the wonders and magnificent art of engineering and mathematics and the wonders they could do. In high school, I remember being one of the only 3 girls in a class of over 20 students and being the only girl in my class that saw these subjects through to the end.

I just knew that there was so much more to be done. I feel like we have barely scratched the surface of what is possible, and look how far we’ve come. I can only imagine the greater things lying ahead.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

Hard work, consistency and persistence helped me tackle obstacles.

I knew what I wanted and I just went for it. I put in the required effort and work. Being a female mechanical engineering student, a lot of people kept asking why I chose a male dominated field like mechanical engineering. Very few people actually cared about the passion behind my decision.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I wish my younger self didn’t try to fit in.

I always had big dreams as a little girl and not a lot of girls my age felt the same way. It made me feel left out and I wanted to feel among so I tried fitting in and convinced myself that my dreams and ideas were stupid. I almost lost myself.

Thankfully, I met like-minded people in the nick of time. I learnt to stand out and set the pace for others to follow. They helped me rediscover myself.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love working in STEM because I get to learn new things everyday. There is a lot to know about STEM because it cuts across all spheres of life.

Being in STEM leaves me fulfilled and waking up each day to being a better version of myself.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Never say never. Never limit yourself. There’s no limitation to what you can do.

Once you discover your passion, go for it. Don’t mind what the society says about it. Do you. Be you. Always seek to be a better person than you were yesterday.

INSPIRATION

“The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible”- Unknown. This is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds me that no one and nothing but me is responsible for my life and I have to take charge of it regardless of what others say.

Amanda Obidike is one of my role models. She inspires me to be the change I want to see.