Atimati Ehinomen

See Yourself in STEM - Atimati Ehinomen

Tell us a little bit about you:

I am an international Ph.D. student in the Electrical Electronic Engineering department at Strathclyde. I am very passionate about learning and personal development. Moving to Scotland was a big step for me and my family, a decision I am glad we made. I am not very social, but I enjoy moments with my few friends and family. I also enjoy long walks and nice movies.

What is your area of research and what project(s) are you working on now?

My research is on improving the performance of shared spectrum management through intelligent secondary users’ frequency allocation. Its overreaching goal is to achieve affordable internet access as shared spectrum technologies have been identified as a means of attaining this.

When was your interest in STEM/your field first sparked and why?

My interest in STEM started at a very young age. My quest to learn how everything around me worked and the desire to showcase my understanding to others kept me keenly interested in science.

Who or what inspired you to stick with STEM when you were younger?

My greatest influencers were and are still my family. While my Dad introduced me to Engineering by his profession and pride in the field, my mum permitted and encouraged me to chase my passion and dreams. My siblings have always shared, supported and pushed me at every stage of my career. My secondary school Physics laboratory activities were very real and relatable, it made it easy for me to choose from the many Engineering fields and set me on my current career path.

What challenges do you think STEM disciplines face with regards to issues of diversity and inclusion and what should a supportive, inclusive STEM community look like?

An unknown bias that colleagues have without realizing it. What’s not seen but felt, not spoken but heard and the general take is ‘grow a tough skin’. A supportive community would be one that genuinely seeks to culture and develop the intelligence and capability of ALL its’ members. A community where individuals are seen for their passion, interest, intelligence, contributions and empowered to be the best version of themselves.

In your career, what are the moments that have made you proudest so far?

Obtaining a scholarship to study for my Phd, and becoming a member of the Faculty for the Future community. Successes that I have recorded in different phases of my Phd project.

Since STEM career paths are rarely easy to navigate, what challenges have you faced along the way?

I have faced several challenges at different stages of my career, loneliness, career ceilings and impossible bosses. I would say the greatest is finding a balance between my career and family. Two equally important aspects of my life. Pausing my career pursuit to raise children and racing to catch up with it. Can a woman truly have it all? Or does she have to choose? These are questions I still seek answers to. However, so far, I think I have been able to manage routines and time effectively to get my idea of the best of both worlds.

Where do you find support to sustain you in your current career?

I find solace in all the women before me (in and out of STEM) who have believed that it's possible to follow and achieve their dreams. They have given me a different narrative, one that is both possible and fulfilling. Also, my faith, mentors and colleagues have provided me with critical feedback, collaborations and useful guidance for my professional growth.

What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in STEM?

It’s a fulfilling career. If you enjoy discovering new things and have a curious mind, explore that gift in a laboratory. Seek good counsel at every step of the journey. Whatever challenges that may seem insurmountable, they will fizzle out with time. Constantly build on your knowledge base, evolve, never stay stagnant. It's alright to ask for support when you need it. Mentors can help you, listen and take advantage of their tutelage, they genuinely want to lift you. People have succeeded in the field, inspire others with your success story.

Fun question: Tell us two truths and a lie about you.

a) I am afraid of heights. b) I am a proud mum of three. c) I am an excellent cook.