Eunice Emmy Malembo is a 23-year-old Kenyan, and an avid lover of all forms of art; music, paintings, graffiti, sculptures, photography. She believes that art is life. She graduated from Taita Taveta University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Technology and is the Co-founder of PsychBeing Enterprise. She is also currently a Raleigh ICS Volunteer under Voluntary Overseas Service (VSO) organisation, and she recently graduated from the Youth Leadership Program (Impactathon 2018) run by Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT).
Eunice’s passion for technology stems from the very grounded belief that women are VERY creative and possess more analytical skills and are so much more innovative. She has worked with young girls before and seeing the projects that they come up with, and all the potential that they hold, she believes women should be given more chances to be at the forefront of technological advancements. This is why she got involved with training and mentoring high school girls in the Mombasa Girls in STEM Program run by PwaniTeknowGalz Organization and as a ToT/mentor and Head Judge in the annual global Technovation Challenge in partnership with Safaricom PLC.
Why I got into STEM
My interest in STEM started when I was in high school. Mathematics, Biology and Physics were my favourite subjects. I just loved understanding how things work, the logic behind different inventions, taking equipment apart and putting them back together. My teachers encouraged me to continue with Sciences when I got to campus, and so I did. One thing that excites me about technology is that it’s not complacent. There’s always something new, more interesting, and more challenging everyday. The evolving nature of technology “forces” one to keep learning new things each day in order to stay relevant in the field and up to task. I am currently more driven to combining tech and non-tech fields. This category falls mostly in IT Systems Support, Troubleshooting, IT service delivery, Operating systems upgrades and software installation and maintenance. I believe that one of the reasons as to why most ladies don’t venture into STEM fields is because of the fear that they have to go directly into intense disciplines like Data Analytics or Artificial Intelligence, whereas it’s just about taking the field that you are in and finding a way of streamlining its operations through technology or through engineering etc. – be it the health sector, or in business, or even the environment. Technology is so wide and once one finds a way to involve it in his/her daily operations, one can slowly grow in it and ultimately be an expert leader in STEM.
I have many accomplishments that I wouldn’t say are my greatest but, they are in-line with my passion for Technology and I’m happy I got to do them. The first is been the Project Lead and Co-Founder of a start-up social enterprise (PsychBeing) that utilizes technology to elevate Mental Wealth by creating awareness hence cultivating a society of stable mentally wealthy human beings. My second accomplishment is to have been a part of projects that allowed me to be able to train high school students in Human-Centred Design thinking, Social Entrepreneurship and Programming. I helped them widen their perspectives that, education isn’t just what you’re taught in school – there’s so much more to learn. Also, the small victories such as been awarded the Google-Africa Scholarship for Front-End Web-Development. Those, I feel, have been achievements that I’m proud of so far. I am looking forward to making an even greater impact in the Technological field.
Challenges I face as a woman in STEM
As much as women-empowerment is a contemporary issue and a lot more action is been taken to drive this initiative, I feel that every day, women in STEM fields still have a difficult time in proving their knowledge and expertise. In order to prevent been overlooked, because STEM is still largely a male-dominated sector, women have to work twice as hard to get noticed. And the deficit in female mentors (in STEM industries) to upcoming female leaders in STEM makes it even more difficult. As for me it started from campus, from been one of only 15 girls in a class of 80+ students, to when carrying out Tech-based jobs and there would be obvious favor towards the male and more complex/serious tasks handed to our male counterparts because of the belief that men are better at technology than females. Even in running a Tech-based social enterprise, when meeting with investors and potential partners, you can almost read their thoughts and feel their reactions to the fact that I’m female, and that my teammates are also female. Everyday, there is something to overcome as a woman in STEM – everyday I work to prove myself.
My advice to budding women in STEM
This is your time – NOW. The world is finally seeing the potential and impact that women have in society, in STEM, in the economy and henceforth. So grab the available opportunities and Make your mark. Assert yourself and impose your will on the status quo. Never be afraid of standing up and claiming what you want. Life is favourable to the bold. So BE BOLD. Live your life, don’t compare, just move at your own pace, accept the failures and use them to dig your heels in deeper into what you’re passionate about.