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Aisha Janki Akinola

Architecture Student, University of Edinburgh

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Your dreams and identities are valid too because it is a myth that STEM fields are for men.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am an aspiring architect with a passion for sustainable design and climate justice. I am also an advocate for social mobility of students from BAME backgrounds in the construction industry.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

My journey towards becoming an architect has been a really unconventional one. I come from a community believe the ultimate role of a woman is a wife and child bearer. When I excitedly told my teacher that I wanted to become an architect, he looked me in the eye and said "as a muslim woman, architecture is not the best field for you, it’s for the men". As the stubborn and resilient 12 year old that I was, I did not let that deter me because I had read books and stories about women did were playing important roles in this field. It was then that I made up my mind to pursue this dream in a bid to inspire more muslim women in Nigeria to consider career opportunities in STEM because it is the future.

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

Attaining a fully funded scholarship to study at a world class university in Edinburgh.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I wake up looking forward to the exciting challenges that will arise and the amount of problem solving I would apply.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Your dreams and identities are valid too because it is a myth that STEM fields are for the men because last time I checked there is enough room at the table for us too. Oh and if you can find a seat at the table, create your own. So, to conclude I would say to the future generation of women in STEM to not forget to ignite that fire within them, use it as a torch to help you navigate this seemingly male dominated field while carry your head up high and smashing all those boring stereotypes about us.

INSPO / FUN FACT

“Defy all the odds, kicking down those doors and shatter that glass ceiling, because you can!” - Aisha Janki Akinola