Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
I learnt a great deal from my mother - she is my ultimate role model - she taught me to defy all of the odds and cultural exclusions in order to be who you want to be. I learnt tenacity, resilience, determination and focus from her. Although she is not in the STEM field, the skills that she taught me have helped to shape my life today.
I started STEMi Makers Africa two years ago because there was a clear need for STEM education. In Nigeria and across West Africa, students graduate from school, irrespective of what they study, and often find out they're not qualified for the job they envisioned because they don't have the technical skills.
This reality creates a lot of frustration. You begin to ask yourself, why did I spend so much money and time going to school abroad. With STEMi, we're working to address the leaky unemployment pipeline and the under-representation of women and girls in technology and science.
Our growth over the past two years shows that the demand is there. People are constantly reaching out to us, asking if we can bring STEMi into their community. Only yesterday, someone from Chad reached out saying that he wants to start a STEMi initiative in his country which is fantastic!
Any influential toys during childhood?
As I child I was very sociable and just loved to play with my friends - maybe that is why I want to help people as part of my career. No unfortunately, i was not a toy person. Our favourite games were "hide and seek" or just racing around having fun!
Your favourite subjects at school?
At school I excelled in Biology. I often felt that if I had maintained the passion for this subject I could have gone to Medical School. That is why young people need mentors and careers advisers who can help them make the right decisions for their future.
• Masters in Data Science, International Business Management Institute, Berlin.
• STEM Education Certification, Open University, UK.
• AS Degree in Economics and Organization, Politechnico di Milano, Italy.
• Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Business Management, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
Tell me about your career path to date?
My background isn't in technology or STEM. I graduated with a Master's in Business Management from the International Business Management Institute in Germany. I then went back to Nigeria but despite having a Master's degree I was still underpaid.
I spent the first three years of my career, frustrated. But as time passed, I began to realise that the world was changing, technology was here to stay, and Africa was behind. Something had to be done.
In 2018, I participated in an IBM training course on Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, which opened my eyes to see that technology is fun and has diverse opportunities. After some personal research, I discovered that many young people were ignorant about technology. So after the training, instead of getting a job, I built an organisation to create awareness and prepare young Africans for these opportunities.
I also gained access to a lot of free tools when I earned the Mastery Award of Business Intelligence from IBM. One of them was IBM Digital-Nation Africa, a platform where you can access online learning and job opportunities in new technologies.
Moreover, I didn't have a background in technology, but I knew I needed to develop my technical skills because Africa's workforce was changing.
Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
I want to encourage young people to be open to collaboration, learning and mentorship. There is a large STEM community with people who can offer career and academic support. Why not learn from other people's experience as they can help shape your direction in STEM.
As professionals, we can still learn a lot too! We often underestimate the power of mentorship. We need to start serving as role models and mentors because the younger generation needs our reaffirmation. Sometimes, it's just one thing you say that could change the course of their lives. It's time that we step up to that plate because if we don't, who will?