Kayode Florence Abiodun is from Kwara State, Nigeria. She is a Graduate Research student for Informatics for Climate Change at Universite Joseph Kizerbo 1, Ouagadougou Burkina-Faso. She has an MSc. Mathematical Science for Climate Resilience from Rwanda and a BSc. Statistics from Nigeria.
Why did you get into STEM?
My early days in high school revealed some of my strength which include STEM and debating. While I enjoy learning and challenging others at it, I found literature boring so I opted for STEM combinations since my mathematics and physics scores have always been perfect. I excelled at mathematics but I didn’t think of being a mathematician. I wanted to be a computer scientist at least if not an aeronautic engineer. So I’ll say being in STEM isn’t by chance but a deliberate choice I am glad to pursue.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
They say pride comes before a fall. Well, I have come a long way so I’ll be sure to proudly celebrate what I consider as my greatest achievement. It was failing at what I thought I was best at. I mentioned earlier that I excelled at mathematics, but somehow I found myself having to write my Senior School Certificate Examination twice because I failed mathematics. It was really a major setback for me, but I am proud of those times because I learned valuable lessons through the experience. Not everyone will celebrate their setback but I will. Those times of failure gave my interest in mathematics a new meaning. It deeply challenged me and here I am today doing well in mathematics. My ability to not allow me to be manipulated by anybody, setting emotions and feeling aside while using simple logic, statistics, data and facts to make a choice is all thanks to those times of finding my root in mathematics.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
To be honest, the greatest challenges have come with working with other women. While some don’t take your opinion on issues seriously, others give undue pressure on outdoing men in the field. Regardless, I do my absolute best to look at everyone as an individual, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or any other category.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
Prepare yourself mentally, you need to be tough and book smart. Being in STEM is tasking; added to the stereotype of being a woman. It really would be exhausting to constantly have to prove that you’re good in your field and not just lucky statistics. Find a support system that enables growth and fosters networking. Be passionate about your work, because one day when you feel like giving it all up, your passion will drive you higher until you get to the top.