Achieng Emily is a Kenyan poet, reader, and Computer Engineering Major at Gachon University. She loves watching stars at night. And better still, looks at them more than most people do. Her passion in tech comes from a place of insight and simplicity. She strongly believes in the inward energy and transforming power of women in the tech industry.
Why did you get into STEM?
I’d say I developed this interest in tech from a childhood passion and gradual interest to try to find answers that were not clear to me back then. And this really gave me a thirst to try and find out more and more about what really lied behind all the amazing technology I could see before me. I didn’t know how to start at first. But one time I came across a Google Kenya event and I applied to attend. Attending the event and seeing the incredible works gave me the idea that truly this industry was meant for me. And, there and then it hit me that I should be in tech and this industry was meant for me.
From that time onwards, I started actively joining and participating in events for tech newbies and I got a great foundation and background knowledge.
I also attended the Akirachix training for a while. Akirachix is a great initiative in Nairobi, Kenya that encourages young women to venture into tech. At Akirachix, I brushed shoulders with incredibly inspiring people who gave me an expert and lavish encouragement that the STEM industry was meant for women too, and I am one of them.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
Writing down my dreams and them becoming a reality. It is always said that we should never underestimate the power of writing down our dreams. If you really want something, write it down. One day you will look back and see how far you will have come.
I wrote Envisioning My World at that point in my life when I was clueless. I was still in that process of discovering myself and wishing I could get a chance that would immerse me in this vast knowledge by trying to find opportunities here and there. Much as what I wrote were just mere wishful thoughts, I could tell and understand the sense of direction I wanted for myself.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
I must admit that there are days when I wake up and feel this journey in STEM is uncertain and hectic for a woman. But persistence drives me much. And the thought that I need to keep my head up for the sake of other women who are still elbowing their way through patriarchy.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
If you want something in life, write it down. Never underestimate that simple action. And then after some time, look back and reflect. Don’t get lost in the many conflicts. Drown all the many voices and concentrate, focus and do everything according to your pace.