Black in STEM31 August 2021
For several years, the STEM sector has been encouraging women to enter the sector. However, there has been little focus on the journey of minoritized ethnicity women, and the unique challenges these individuals face. We hosted a ‘Black in STEM’ session, on 13th September 2021, presenting three case studies, showing the challenges, barriers and realities of Black females entering Engineering degrees. Speakers included Kezia Bikebi-Nitu, a medical engineering student; Charlotte Ajomale-Evans, chair of the BAME Students in Engineering Network; and Modupe Sobanwa, a chemical engineering student, all from Swansea University.
Kezia is a Congolese woman, born and raised in London. She moved to Wales for university in 2018 and is currently completing her degree in Medical Engineering where she’s interning as a Product Development Engineer at Pfizer. Kezia has had to face various racial challenges as a Black girl throughout childhood, mainly during her primary and secondary education. In her first year at University Kezia was racially attacked which created great hardships for her mentally and academically. She wanted to share her experience in order to raise awareness and show, despite all the troubles, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Charlotte grew up in Sussex and moved to Wales in 2010. She completed her English with Creative Writing degree at Swansea University in 2013. Having grown up as a mixed race woman, she has confronted both racial and sex barriers inside and outside of education. While still at secondary school, Charlotte spoke at a government head teacher conference about the gender pay gap, and now chairs the BAME Students in Engineering Network at Swansea University. The network aims to educate, create change, and empower individuals to become anti-racist. Her passion sits in ensuring people can move through life without fear of discrimination.
Modupe is a student currently completing her Masters of Engineering Degree in Chemical Engineering at Swansea University. Modupe grew up in Lagos, Nigeria before moving to the UK in 2010. Having spent almost equal years of her life in Nigeria and the UK, Modupe has had a wide range of varied experiences between the two countries. Aside from academia, Modupe’s passion lies within female empowerment hence why she currently sits as acting president within the Swansea Women in Engineering Society committee.