What is your educational background?
I have a BSc in Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences from Brunel University London, an MSc in Mental Health Studies from King’s College London and I’m now a PhD student at Oxford Brookes.
What is your current occupation?
Currently I am an intern with the Emerging Mind’s Network and Oxford University, this is a 3-month internship that will end Feb 2021. I’m also a first year PhD student.
What or who got you into STEM?
I have always had an interest in psychology, but through personal experience and my undergraduate degree I realized I wanted to study more about the use of exercise and physical activity to help with mental health conditions.
What is the biggest challenge/barrier you have faced as an African in STEM?
Psychology isn’t something that’s heavily pushed to be studied, I feel it’s the least pushed out of STEM especially in African households. Lack of representation made it harder for me to even see myself in the field, it was only when I had fully decided I want to do a PhD and started going to events that I saw others like me and felt like it is really possible.
How do you think your background/upbringing has been beneficial in your journey/career?
My parents have always been supportive of my goals and have always made me feel like it’s possible for me to achieve them. They always push for a balance of working hard but also resting and allowing yourself to relax. Their ability to push through and get to where they are even with language barriers has always been inspiring.
How do you think we can start to change the narrative surrounding African contributions
to global STEM research & careers?
Continue to create more groups like the ‘BlackIn(subject)’ groups on twitter, so that more people can see just how many of us are here. Continue to hold events and showcase the amazing work people are doing via social media, newsletters, conferences etc.
What advice would you like to give to young, aspiring Africans in STEM?
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, had I not done that I wouldn’t be where I am. Search and you will find those that you are looking for, they may not necessarily be in the limelight or the people most spoken about, but they do exist. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a community of fellow Africans in your field.
Do you have any projects you’re working on that you would like us to highlight?
I have an Instagram page @PT_fiyory where I post about mental health, physical activity and exercise. I also have a free physical activity booklet for anyone who needs help and wants to keep active, if you drop me an email or DM I can send it over