Stella Uzochukwu, Program Director Odyssey Educational Foundation, Abuja, Nigeria
How did your journey to study Engineering begin? What inspired you initially?
My journey into engineering was clear cut from my quest of wanting to know more. I kept asking how electricity was generated. My inspiration came from one of my uncles who is an Electrical Engineer with me consistently asking how he does wiring and never gets a shock. I also wanted to show off that I could hold an electrical wire with a tester placed on any part of my body and the tester glow. It was really important because I wanted to know how that happens.
What does your family feel about your profession?
My family feels great and proud of me. When I was a lot younger, my father would boast to his friend that I just figured out the electrical fault in the house and mention that there is light in the house courtesy of me. Once I got married, my husband understood my passion and has been very supportive. He encouraged me to further my study in a different Country other than ours in order to get more experience working and thriving in an international environment.
Are you a member of the CAFEW Facebook group? If so, for how long and active are you in the group?
Yes, I am but I must confess that I am not active.
How has CAFEW contributed positively to your social and professional life? Please advise on areas of improvement.
I have read inspirational stories of women of exploit on CAFEW facebook group page and I must say that it has contributed positively to making me want to aim higher.
What were your challenges in securing a job? What tips do you have to encourage others in job search?
I did not have much challenging securing a job as a fresh graduate. I got myself busy in my local church as it was a big one. The church always had the need to replaces various items which includes but not limited to fluorescent tube choke, starter, servicing the fans, wires for new extension and I was there to provide that service. At the same time, I was doing all it took by applying for jobs online using my skills as search criteria which gave me an edge and I got one in no time with a telecom firm as a switch Engineer.
How best would you suggest young Female Engineers navigate their careers?
With great confidence and esteem, you are not inferior. Hard work and perseverance gets you there.
How did you deal with the technical knowledge disparity that happens amongst females in engineering roles?
For me disparity was as a result of lack of hard work and confidence and with that as my foundation, I scaled through as so many others.
What currently motivates you in your recent job?
My current job motivates me a lot because am ensuring a narrowing of the digital divide and a brain gain for our digital natives.
What does work life balance mean to you?
I know what it means being able to balance work and other life expectation like family, leisure and play well but I am not doing so well with this but and learning to balance them as that is what would bring stability to the center.
What are your expectations on the evolution of Engineering in the near future?
I know this cannot be overemphasized. I really do not think I can imagine it because technology is evolving faster than I imagined but we are trying to ensure our community is not so far behind.
What do you wish you could have done better? What advice would you give your younger self and why?
I wish I had acquired more skills especially while working I would have not relented learning more. Your current place or job is a passage so do not act as if that is your destination. I believe I would have achieved better now if I had put in a little more effort.
Provide a personal quote to motivate others.
Your shadow determines the light in you.
CAFEW is happy to celebrate, encourage, and motivate Female Engineers and other Females who enable success in Engineering.
“Talent is unique to each person so it is highly necessary to nurture it. Dream big, work hard consistently, develop skills continuously, volunteer, read & research always to increase your knowledge bank and most of all pray always.” – Ngowari Diminas, CAFEW founder