Ikpotokin O. Peace is a Civil Engineer by Profession, an SDG Advocate, Volunteer, Global STEM Ambassador and Blogger. Peace presently offers Technical Support at Interkel, on a proposed Data Centre project in Nigeria. She is seen leveraging on a number of organizations including the International Youth Council, Society of Women Engineers and The Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) to make an impact. Peace holds a B.Eng. with Second Class Honors, in Civil Engineering from The Federal University of Technology Akure, Ondo State; and also holds a National Diploma in Civil Engineering from Auchi Polytechnic Auchi.
Why did you get into STEM?
My passion for the construction industry was birthed when I was a kid, as I was always fond of drawing buildings around my residence from a particular couch and attempting to fit complex pieces of brick puzzles together. This interest led me to embrace science at the elementary level. As I grew older as a Nigerian, I identified some environmental challenges faced by my country. This called my attention and I then sought to change the status quo. I applied for internships at reputable construction and consultancy firms, playing key roles in Nigeria’s construction industry in order to acquire practical skills in addition to my theoretical knowledge. I was exposed to projects which further fueled my desire to study advanced structural design and construction techniques as well as mentorship from successful experts in the industry and academia.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
I find it exciting and intriguing doing something new that can bring about a positive change in my environment and make life better.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Sometimes the feeling of almost giving up. At other times I feel I can go the extra-mile but don’t know what to do exactly. I also wish I had career support earlier enough. Although receiving support from older women was almost the game changer for me, I still had to invest more time in my self-development.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
Be that engineer that is willing to go the extra mile – someone ready to see problems as opportunities. It will surely cost you. You are responsible for your growth and your career, and as such, you should take steps towards that direction such as connecting with mentors and senior colleagues, attending programs and conferences in your field. Also, study hard, be humble enough to learn from others around you and most importantly trust in God.