What is your educational background?
I did both BSc and MSc in Biomedical Sciences at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, University of Applied Sciences in Rheinbach, Germany.
What is your current occupation?
Research Associate in the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine at University Hospital of Düsseldorf.
What or who got you into STEM?
Growing up I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field, so I just followed that dream.
What is the biggest challenge/barrier you have faced as an African in STEM?
For years, the STEM field as always been a male-dominated one, with women only in the background, and no women of colour appearing anywhere. This is reflected in scientific conferences, where I always find myself being the only, if not one of two, persons of colour or Africans in the room.
I can’t help but always feel like all eyes are on me, and I carry the weight of representing all my fellow Africans. But I have come to accept this is just how it is; I stand tall and make the most of the events.
How do you think your background/upbringing has been beneficial in your journey/career?
The competitiveness we had in school always aiming to get the best grades. This is one thing that helped me in my journey. I remember one time during my studies when I cried because I had failed a paper. At the time it felt like my life was over, as it was the first time I would have had to re-sit a paper. But that was no reason to give up, I just had to push harder to get to where I am today.
How do you think we can start to change the narrative surrounding African contributions
to global STEM research & careers?
Just because we come from a developing community, does not mean we can not. We, the Africans in STEM right now, need to spread the word and show the rest that it can be done. There are endless possibilities out there; people just need to know about them. Exposure is key!
How What advice would you like to give to young, aspiring Africans in STEM?
They say the sky is the limit, but when you think of it, the sky has no end. Which brings me back to the endless possibilities out there, you just have to search in the right places. Ask those who have taken a similar road.
Do you have any projects you’re working on that you would like us to highlight?
I am currently working in a spin-off project from my institute at the University Hospital Düsseldorf in Germany. Isolating kidney progenitor cells from urine, providing an alternative for biopsy derived kidney cells for research.