Nigerian-born Dr. Ozak Esu has made the 2017 Telegraph list of the “Top 50 Women Under 35” in Engineering in the United Kingdom.
The list is compiled annually by Telegraph in collaboration with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to boost women’s participation in engineering; 50 awardees are selected from a list of more than 500 nominees.
Twenty-seven-year-old Dr. Esu, who shared photos of herself at the award ceremony on her Instagram page, left Nigeria for the U.K. in 2008 to study for a first degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Loughborough University.
By 2011, she graduated with first class honors and was awarded a research studentship for a Ph.D. at the university.
The energy problems in Nigeria and throughout much of Africa inspired her choice for studying Electrical Engineering. For her research work, she focused on optimizing the performance of wind turbines for cleaner eco-friendly energy.
“My research investigated the instrumentation of low-cost electronics for vibration-based condition monitoring of wind turbine blades. The motivation for my research was to contribute toward reducing operations and maintenance costs associated with wind turbines,” Dr. Esu says.
Notwithstanding her excellent academic performance and multiple employment offers, Dr. Esu says she found it quite difficult to secure a visa and work permit in the U.K.
“There was an endless supply of vacancies via the E&T Jobs website, Gradcracker, Student Ladder, and graduate recruitment fairs, etc., but it was daunting.
“I was an international student and required a work permit and visa sponsorship. Most of the engineering companies I was interested in joining, although listed by UKBA [U.K. Border Agency] as registered visa sponsors, were unwilling to sponsor international students. I presume to avoid the hassle and costs associated,” she says.
Dr. Esu now works for a leading consultancy firm in Birmingham, U.K., and her job involves designing electrical services, such as lighting, electrical power, fire detection, CCTV, and security systems, for workplaces, schools, retail, and residential buildings.
“My role involves concept to final stage design, calculations (by hand and via software), liaising and meeting with architects, clients, contractors, and manufacturers [and] coordinating electrical services with other services within a building, and regular site visits,” Dr. Esu says.
She believes in giving back to the community so in her spare time she mentors pupils, especially young girls who want to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
“I am a STEM Ambassador and have been actively promoting STEM careers in schools through STEMNET for five years.
“I am also a volunteer GCSE mathematics tutor with the Access Project in Birmingham, helping to support pupils toward achieving higher grades, with the hope of leading on to a STEM career,” Dr. Esu adds.