STEM WOMEN: 5 Reasons To Be Proud according to Black Panther

We need more STEM Women in Africa.

In 2018, Black Panther solidified its place in pop culture as one of the greatest movies of all time. In addition to highlighting #blackexcellence, the movie also normalizes African women’s place in STEM.

This representation in popular culture is especially important considering WEF reports a 47% global gender gap in STEM.

If you are an African STEM woman, here are 5 reasons you should be proud of according to Black Panther.


1. You are Ingenious

Wakanda is nothing without its Vibranium, and no one knows how to leverage this special resource better that Shuri – the Black Panther’s sister.

Throughout the movie, we can see how Shuri’s inventions have helped the Wakanda’s advancement in technology. From Blank Panther’s nanotechnology suit to the sound-absorbing sneakers, Shuri’s inventions solved a lot of problems for both Wakanda and her brother.

Shuri should remind you of why you are a STEM Woman – to create, invent, innovate and deliver life-transforming solutions to the world. The next solution the world needs is in you!

2. You are Important

While the movie is not called “The STEM Women of Wakanda” (Marvel, we wouldn’t mind a spin-off), if you take away Shuri’s inventions, the Black Panther would be a very different film.

As a STEM professional, you may never get billboard-sized recognition you deserve, but that doesn’t make your work any less important. Your solutions behind the great things your organization speaks volumes about how valuable you are.

3. You are Emotionally Strong

For those of us, especially in engineering, we see ourselves in positions to exercise physical strength but how about emotionally? Angela Bassett was the perfect actor for the mother of our superhero. Queen Ramonda was an embodiment of strength!

Sometimes, we see our products or solutions come to life only to die a few months or years later. Many times, we even see our ideas die before they see the light of day. No matter the odds, we are wired to stay strong and not give up.

4. You Know Your Stuff

Shuri, the STEM Gem of Wakanda, knew her stuff. She could explain anything to you and knew the workings behind everything powered by Vibranium. You could never catch her off guard.

Women continuously have to prove themselves in every professional field. It’s a much tougher battle in male-dominated STEM fields. As a But for you, you prove this wrong every day you step into the office and do what you do.

As a STEM woman, you prove your worth every day by dazzling all with the depth of knowledge you have. Take pride in your investments to improve yourself every day!

5. You are Multi-Talented

Not only was Shuri a tech guru, she was also a warrior. She did not opt to stick to her lab but got involved in what made her work valuable.

As an African STEM woman, you have a unique perspective the world needs. You have been blessed to do so much, you should never feel streamlined to stereotyped functions. You can always step into new vacant shoes and know what to do – because you can!


Are you a #STEMWoman? Share this post and tell us what you are most proud of accomplishing.

Contributing Editor: Judith Abani

Your Self Care shouldn’t suffer at the expense of Career Excellence – Nnennaya Udochu

Female engineers have been branded to be nerds and unattractive. It is a common belief that female engineers have no sense of style, not feminine enough and probably too strong for the average man.

Contrary to this widely held bias, Nnennaya Udochu is a firm believer that female engineers can be trendy, decent, and elegant.  Nnennaya’s life and style is full proof that women are going against this bias.

As an analog engineer, she doesn’t fit into what you’d typically call your hard hat-wearing engineer. She has held the office of a Professor Faculty in the Mathematics department at the University of Portland, Oregon., and she balances career with self-care.

Nnennaya doubles as a fashion blogger and also motivates ladies who fear that taking a career in engineering or any career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) would impede and perhaps limit their chances of a relationship.

In this article, she shares her experience in the profession gives her insights on the misconceptions placed on women in STEM.


 What prompted you to want to become an Engineer?

I enjoyed solving a lot of Math problems and enjoyed a particular topic in my physics class, Electromagnetics.

It was from that course in Secondary School I decided I wanted to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering.

 What setbacks did you experience pursuing this dream?

Taking some engineering courses that would make me think, “why me” or “God help me” because I found them very challenging. For example, Thermodynamics and Statics.

Aside from those challenges, the fear of self-doubt. Sometimes, just believing in yourself regardless of what people think goes a long way. I remember being in a study group where we were discussing our prospective first jobs and I said Microsoft or any Fortune 500 company.

The whole group burst out laughing but today here I am staying in the course of what I want for myself.

 Did you have a hard time proving your credibility to your male lectures/superiors?

Yes, I did most of the time. It took a lot of hard work and proving myself but I would always let the quality of my work delivery speak volume.

Once you’re very knowledgeable about your expertise and firm about making decisions, it would be difficult for anyone to question your abilities in the workforce.

 Females in #STEM tend to recline to the background whenever leadership or academic roles are called for. Was this your experience?

No this isn’t my experience. I am very tenacious in the pursuit of leadership or academic roles in my career; certainly not shying away from it.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Portland, Oregon and I’m continuously getting mentored by senior leaders in my industry.

 As an Analog Engineer, what does your typical workday look like?

My workdays are very busy and a lot of critical thinking is involved.

Every day I am faced with new challenges on addressing power issues and honestly, everything I learned in Physics II (especially applied principles of electromagnetics) are applied from day to day.

Basically, I am mentally tasked each day.

 You are also an Instagram blogger. Tell us about your journey.

The journey so far has been great! I continue to curate content on my platform to inspire people across the world through my travel shots, beauty, hair and showcasing different fashion looks ranging from street style to guest inspired looks at a wedding.

I’ve collaborated with brands such as Pitusa, Chi Chi London, Res Ipsa, Palmers, Victoria Emerson just to mention a few and my work has been featured on various Instagram and media platforms.

The most exciting experience I’ve had from my journey so far was being privileged to have featured on a fashion segment on Fox News (Fox12 Oregon) discussing the latest Fall fashion trends in 2018.

 In your opinion why do you think women in #STEM do not take self-care as a top priority?

I feel it’s because they don’t want to appear unserious for their jobs and have their co-workers not take them seriously in a meeting or on a project.

The perception of a woman figure in STEM is always painted wearing dirty clothing, or plain tops and jeans and this have clouded some women’s judgment on how they would like to present themselves.

 What advice do you have for women starting out in #STEM?

Stay persistent and confident in the pursuit of your career goals. Don’t let the presumptions society has about women in STEM be a reason you get discouraged in achieving your career goals.

Who you are or aspire to be shouldn’t be limited by someone’s experience.

What’s the look on people’s face when you’re all dressed up like a diva and you tell them what you do?.

They are always astonished and perplexed. Some make decent remarks like, “Beauty and Brains” while others find the need to argue.

Once a co-worker said I was in Finance and I said, “No”. Only for him to turn back around still amazed and say, “I always thought you were in Finance and you were a spoilt brat because of the way you dress”.

Between anger and range, I managed to get my emotions in check and simply responded, “For someone educated that is quite shallow of you to say”.


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