As part of International Women in Engineering Day, Mayando Telebwe from Zambia, who is studying Construction Project Management, explains why she decided to do her degree at USW.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I am 22 years old and did my primary and secondary education in Zambia. I graduated high school from Ndola Trust School, which is in a beautiful and friendly town of Ndola on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia.
Why did you decide to study at USW, and why did you pick the course you are studying?
USW was the first university that popped up in my search and one of the very few universities that offers my course at undergraduate level. They had everything I needed, making it an instant connection as I decided to put all my eggs in one basket and told myself it was either USW or nothing. I started my degree in Construction Project Management with USW in September 2018.
Construction has always been part of my career plans and, with the industry being quite broad, I had to find something that catered to my strengths and interests and my course is exactly that. It’s analytical and focuses on the overseeing of projects from start to finish, educating you with broad skills and puts you not only in a professional office environment but also out in the field.
Why do you want to be an engineer, and what job do you hope to do once you have finished your studies?
Engineering is a thought process that gives you the liberty to explore your imagination and come up with probable ways and solutions to implement these ideas and further execute them. This is exactly why I want to become an engineer, having the chance to collaborate with greater and like minds to create something for the good of the people or the environment. It is a fulfilling and humbling experience that I hope to achieve one day.
When I graduate, I want to work as a project manager, but I do look forward to exploring other fields of construction that fall in line with what I am studying.
What has been the best thing about the course? How has USW helped you?
The best thing about the course so far has been witnessing my own growth in the academic aspect of things. In my previous years of education, I never had the right academic guidance, and this affected my confidence as well as attitude to perform well in school. USW has immensely helped me improve myself academically in ways that I never thought were possible. From the lecturers to the organisation support systems in place, they have been amazing and encouraging and, even though I still encounter challenges here and there, I cannot fault them as they have done their best for me.
As it is International Women in Engineering Day, what would you say to women who are thinking of following in your footsteps?
It is not an easy journey, do your research on what aspect of engineering you would like to get into and make sure you have an interest or passion for it, because you will encounter challenges that will make you question your decisions, but that passion or interest is what will give you the determination to push through any barriers or obstacles you may face.
The industry can have gender bias, but that should not stop or discourage women from joining it. Women have such great intelligence and an eye for detail, key things that the industry requires. Though you might have to fight your way in or constantly prove yourself, remember that engineering is a collaborative sector and, with more organisations in place catering to the development of women in the industry, there will always be someone willing to help you.
So go out there and explore your greatness!