International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021 – Seyi Adelusi

Today, the 11th of February is Women in Science Day. Therefore, I would like to shine a spotlight on Seyi Adelusi who is a DevOps Engineer who works in a Fintech Company in Nigeria. We shall read on how the journey has been and the challenges especially as a woman.

Storytelling is a powerful tool, and I believe that by reading her story, more young girls and women will embrace STEM and the stereotypical views associated with young girls showing interest. We hope that more parents, guardians and caregivers will encourage their girls who are interested in this field.

  1. Can we meet you?

My name is Oluwaseyi Ifedola Adelusi. A graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. I work as a DevOps Engineer in a Fintech company in Nigeria. I love writing, travelling and reading books.

2) What was your university education like?

My University education was very interesting. In a class of over 120 students, we were less than 10 girls. Our lecture halls had limited capacities, so I always needed to hustle through the crowd in order to get a comfortable seat close to the front of the hall. As a girl, this was a difficult feat to undertake. It was a journey that has shaped me into being the woman that I am today: a woman who is willing to compete to get to the top in the corporate world. I am so excited about my future and grateful for my educational journey.

3) How has the journey in a STEM Career been like?

I was inspired to pursue a career in STEM when I during my physics and mathematics classes in high school. The ability to understand and define the world both conceptually and quantitatively attracted me to STEM. I wanted to apply mathematical tools to solving problems, and I was drawn to the inherent creativity involved in engineering. I ended up studying engineering at the university as a result.

My career so far has been rewarding. I started as Operations Engineer and Database Administrator in one of the leading banks in Nigeria. After roughly 3 years with the bank, I recently pivoted to the fintech world where I currently serve as the DevOps and Integration lead of a fast-growing payments company.

4) Do you have any regrets?

I would say I can’t think of any regrets at the moment. STEM has become our everyday life. I’m glad I chose this path, and I will choose it over and over again.

5) Many people think STEM courses are a no-go area for girls, what do you have to say about this?

As already expressed above, I have been working in STEM, or ‘tech’ as it is commonly called, for over 3 years now. In that time, I have demonstrated competence in every team I have been part of. This self-assertion of my competence is validated by the fact that I have grown to become a team lead within these 3 years.

What I mean to communicate here is that girls can be successful in STEM career paths and courses. As a matter of fact, I believe there is a need for more women within the STEM ecosystem in order to provide diverse perspectives and contributions.

6) What has helped you to attain success in this field?

Focus, diligence and persistence. In a male-dominated career like mine, a woman has to be focused and persistent. Eventually, the biases and stereotypes will give way when people come to recognise your capabilities as a woman.

7) What are some of the challenges you have encountered in this chosen path? How did you approach them?

As a young lady in STEM, which is a male-dominated area, one often encounters toxic masculinity. Also, men in the field get more visibility, at times for less work. As a result, I have had to work extra hard to attain the same visibility as some of my men colleagues. These are major challenges many other women I know and I face in STEM.

My approach toward these challenges has been to ignore the noise and focus on activities that move the needle. What I mean here is that as long as you focus on making an impact, eventually, people will come to terms with your worth as a woman in STEM.

8) What one thing did you wish you could have done differently?

I could have started earlier. There are decisions I hesitated on taking due to fear and, maybe, lack of access to the right mentorship. This is why I am committed to giving back by providing mentorship to early career girls in STEM that I come across. A lot of mistakes can be avoided through counsels from experienced mentors.

9) What advice would you give your younger self?

To my younger self: Know that you are in charge of your career; question everything; choose the right mentors; create time for yourself; learn to prioritise the right activities and people; follow your own instincts; move fast.

10) How can you encourage young girls to study STEM courses?

My own story is testament to the fact that girls can make high-impact contributions in STEM careers. I want to let every girl out there know that if they believe in themselves, they can be successful in anything they lay their hands upon, including STEM careers. It starts with self-belief.

Another necessary skill I encourage in girls is curiosity. Curiosity helps you form unique questions that will eventually unravel many answers to you. If you are curious enough, and you follow through on your questions by working on finding answers to them, you have a good chance at being successful in STEM.

Nobody has a path that is already made for him/her; we will all face unique challenges and barriers. Girls must be willing to take risks, persevere, and work hard.

11) What do you think are the roles of parents and science teachers in encouraging girls in STEM?

I think every parent should encourage their girl child to study any of the STEM-related courses. By creating an environment in their homes where boy and girl children are afforded equal opportunities, parents can raise girls who can compete out there without whomever they come in contact with.

I am sure you must have been inspired by this interview. I would like to emphasize on something she noted which was curiosity. Curiosity births innovations. I am looking forward to more women lauching more groundbreaking innovations.

Kindly find links to her social media platforms in order to connect with her.

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021 – Seyi Adelusi

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