I am happy to present to you another great woman in STEM Dr Rosine, who is a good friend of mine. We met at university during our undergraduate degree - civil engineering and although we have taken different paths; she continued in academia and I am venturing out into industry. We are both very passionate about engineering and encouraging other women to go out there and have a career in STEM.
My name is Dr Rosine Tepondjou originally from Cameroon. I recently obtained my PhD in Geotechnical engineering at the University of Salford with an undergraduate degree in civil engineering.
Brought up in a bilingual country, I speak both French and English fluently. As I was growing up I was always fascinated by nature, infrastructure and soils which has my driven ambition to study civil engineering and specialise in geotechnical engineering (Soil study).
Besides my passion for engineering, I enjoy cooking, watching movies, crochet and spending time with friends. During the course of my studies, I was working part time which was a very challenging experience during my PhD degree. Combining both studies and work was a dilemma but with perseverance and patience it all paid off at the end and it required a great deal of time management.
Currently working as a senior screening executive but my university background is in Geotechnical/Civil engineering
Typical daily routine:
My daily routine varies each day depending on what I have to do. Since I completed my studies I like to keep myself busy. Hence, I joined the gym which I do before going to work. When I am not at the gym I take driving lessons or do some research or search for an engineering graduate role or cook for the day.
Do you love your job and why?
Well I wouldn’t say I love my job but I love the people I work with. My job is pretty much easy and repetitive and there is no challenge in my day to day work. Besides the fact it is not related to my field, I love the additional skills I am gaining. I would love my job more, even if it was not related to my field, if it was more challenging or not repetitive.
I believe with challenge and variety more can be achieved and learned to develop your skills to a deeper level.
Have you had any good or bad experiences as a women in your industry?
So far not really. But occasionally you get this look or expression from people when they know I did civil engineering and worse that I did a PhD in engineering.
I had someone once wonder how a woman can do engineering and ask how did you manage? My answer to them was why not I am passionate about what I do so why shouldn’t follow my dream? Most of the time I get good remarks and feedback from people with words of encouragement.
Nothing is impossible in this life whether being a woman or a man, if you want to follow a career path which you love then you should which I did and have no regrets.
How you got to where you are today - school, subjects, key decisions:
The first big decision I took was to leave my home country to come to the UK to further my education, choosing my subject area (Civil engineering). After completing my degree, I was not planning to do a PhD, I applied for a masters got a bursary for it but later changed my mind and changed my application to PhD. This was a life changing decision which was influenced by a professor at my university. I had to postpone my PhD for one year and a half before I started. This was because I wanted to work get some transferable skills which helped me not only in my education but helped get the job I have at the moment. I completed my degree and have now decided to look for work in industry before working as a lecturer.
People that inspire you and why:
My family for their continued belief in me and encouragement has inspired me to further my education to PhD level and to be who I am today. Prof Clive Melbourne (now retired) inspired me and open my eyes to an alternative in academia which had never crossed my mind. And as a result of his encouragement, I applied for my PhD. Dr Gareth Swift (my first supervisor) his honesty and openness about what I was going to face if I do PhD motivated me even more to apply for PhD which I did. All these people and many other more have motivated me in many different ways and their continued motivation has brought me where I am now.
Word of encouragement to younger women who want to have a career in STEM:
Go for it if you have passion for STEM. Nothing comes easy so be prepared to put in the work. STEM is challenging but once you have the necessary basics of STEM and the passion you will succeed. Hard work, dedication, focus, challenging yourself and research are what saw me through.
Do not be influenced by the number of men in your industry as you have as much potential as they have and even more. Be confident in your capabilities and ability.
Other interests (outside of STEM): Afro natural hair, cooking, movies and gym
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