What is your educational background?
BSc Geology (2008, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria); MS Geology (2017, Oklahoma State University,U.S.A.); PhD Geophysics (2020, University of Oklahoma, U.S.A.).
What is your current occupation?
Exploration Structural Geologist at BP America. Currently, my work investigates the complexities of the tectonic and structural development of rift basins offshore South America. However, my personal research interests have focused on unraveling the structure of ancient faults and the mechanics of how they are been ‘woken up’ in this present day, either by human activity (induced seismicity) or tectonic stresses (active continental rifting). I have also been studying how young continental rift basins evolve. Recently, my research interests have expanded a little into problems related to geothermal systems and subsurface CO2 storage.
What or who got you into STEM?
Love for the natural outdoors.
What is the biggest challenge/barrier you have faced as an African in STEM?
My biggest challenge has been the common unconscious perception/bias in the ‘western world’ that people of African descent cannot do fundamental science and cannot perform well in math. This is even more challenging because there are very few Black geoscientists in my field who could serve as role models. I hope to provide representation for the future generation of Black geoscientists.
How do you think your background/upbringing has been beneficial in your journey/career?
My mum was a high school teacher, and she taught us (I and my siblings) that getting good education and persistent hard work is the way out of poverty. Although I can think of my family as belonging to a middle-class at the time, the constant financial challenges we faced while growing up in Nigeria gave me an endless source of motivation and grit to dream big, follow my passion, focus on my strengths, and keep up a strong work ethic.
How do you think we can start to change the narrative surrounding African contributions
to global STEM research & careers?
I think the outstanding scientific contributions of Black people (people of African descent) to global scientific advancement needs to be celebrated and shared to the broader global audience. It appears to me that, although black people are contributing in various ways to globally significant and fundamental science, these achievements need to be given some ‘loudspeaker’. This could be done in the form of an online scicomm magazine or podcasts dedicated to Black people in STEM. That way, the younger generation can begin to dream big and see themselves attaining similar heights of success.
What advice would you like to give to young, aspiring Africans in STEM?
I will like to tell them that, although there may be only a few people like us in your field, you too can contribute to the advancement of global science. You have to keep trying to be better at what you do. Endeavour to get mentorship from people that can help you grow; and lastly, keep striving and persisting, until you succeed.