“I find that my role models are women around me who have come before me” – Temisan Dipo-Salami

A first class (1st Class) graduate of Petroleum Engineering, Temisan Dipo-Salami has always gravitated towards science and logic more than other aspects of learning and life. A youth corper serving in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria, Temisan enjoys solving problems and knowing how things work. She has a vision to work in the Energy Industries.

Share a brief summary about who you are. Your current role, position, what project you are working on in STEM and what impact your role has in the future of STEM

My name is Temisan Dipo-Salami. I am a Petroleum Engineering graduate from Afe Babalola University. I graduated with first class honors. I am the last of three children. I enjoy reading, writing and arguing. I am currently a youth corper serving in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. I am working in the oil and gas (energy) industry. I hope to be able to make an impact on the energy industry by combining current practices with cleaner and better alternatives, in order to achieve sustainable development goals, such as providing energy for all and cleaning up the environment.

What was your first job …

Being that I am relatively young and a recent graduate, I have not had many official jobs, but done internships in various companies. My first internship was with an engineering services company called BESL, where they provided piping, lightning and surge protection services for buildings, amongst others. It was a good opportunity for me to be exposed to the work environment and some engineering as well.

Which part of STEM are you currently working in?

I am a Petroleum Engineer

How did you become or end up as a STEM employee?

I have always gravitated towards science and logic more than I have other aspects of learning and life. I enjoy solving problems and knowing how things work.

Looking at where you are today, would you have told a 20-year-old younger self anything different?

I’m 21years old right now, so maybe not going too far back, I would advise myself to engage in more activities besides academics in university and be more open to new things.

Share some key decisions, actions or advice that propelled you into your role

I enjoy knowing how things work and solving problems. Knowing the key to solving a math problem or finally understanding a formula always gave me so much pleasure. When something that seemed confusing previously suddenly makes sense and then using that knowledge to solve problems in the future is always a good feeling. Initially petroleum engineering was a natural progression as a factor of doing what I was good at and enjoyed, but as I actually started learning, my goals evolved the more I learned.

What will you say are the proudest accomplishment in your career?

So far, I am most proud of my degree. I feel like I may have made it harder for myself sometimes, so I always think I should have done some things differently, but I was still able to achieve my goal in the end.

Women in STEM are bold. What has been your boldest move to date?

I am not the biggest risk taker and can be a bit resistant to change, so actively pursuing various opportunities in fields outside of my own would be what I consider moves that caused fear. Also, public speaking is something I get anxious about and try to keep working on.

What are the joys and challenges of having a STEM career?

I think there is joy in working together, sharing ideas and creating solutions to problems. I’m fairly new in the professional world, but generally there are fewer women in this sector and sometimes biases that I could also attribute to my being younger. I think only time and more experience would make me able to give more insight on career challenges.

Is there something about STEM careers that women need to be aware of?

Just that women can be in whatever sector they want to be in. even though there are more women in some branches of engineering and sciences, there are fewer women in tech that are coding and programming, etc. As long as you’re interested and committed, you should not let anything or anybody stop you.

Young women are under-represented in STEM. What advice would you share to people starting a career or building a professional business in this field?

I’ve only recently graduated from school, so I think just being focused on your goals, and not letting the industry or men railroad you in decision-making and being assertive.

If you had a Mentor, what was their best advice that helped shape your role in STEM?

Be open to new ideas, experiences and opinions that differ from yours. There is always an opportunity to learn

Women face challenges in career in general. As one working in a STEM career, what are your biggest setbacks?

There was an instance where I was working on something with a colleague and my work was not satisfactory. Being scolded did not feel good but ultimately helped me improve.

Enlighten us on the lesson Iearnt from this set back

That situation helped me realize that I had to be constantly learning and there was no room for me to relax. I have since then tried to always be thorough and give my best.

Careers help to build the many skills. What skills have you built so far through STEM?

I’m working on developing my technical skills and social skills. Also, sometimes relating with people is a challenge I face and I am working on that.

Would you say we have role models that are motivating young women to have careers in STEM? Please share who they are

I think the women have not been given as much visibility in the past. So it is really good they are getting visibility now for instance the movie hidden figures really brought important women in STEM to light. Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn were the women highlighted. There are also so many other women in STEM that deserve to be called role models. I find that my role models are women around me and who have come before me. They are usually a metric for my own abilities and successes, and make me believe I can do anything

Do young women have what it takes to pick up a career in STEM? Please share reasons

Yes young women have what it takes. It doesn’t require extraordinary and superhuman skills that only men possess. We have just been conditioned by society into thinking of certain areas as ‘men’s world’ and others as women’s. The same commitment in a non-STEM field is what you need to have a career in a STEM one.

If one searched the web for you, what won’t they find

I don’t think there is anything that would be hard to find. I am a pretty open person about what and who I am.

How do you stay inspired in your career?

By constantly learning of the changes in the field. Being part of a community like Society of Petroleum Engineers for example, gives you access to so much information. Learning about different methods of doing things and generally just engaging with the industry. Also, my keenness to effect change and make the world better, safer and cleaner gives me inspiration.

Some say the future is female. What do you think and why?

Women are often unseen forces behind successes. They are often tasked with juggling career, family, children, businesses, etc. which they tend to do successfully. Having experiences, different insight and views from the point of view of the oppressed/repressed, women I believe bring more to the conversation a lot of the time. I come from a family of strong, smart, outspoken women so maybe my agreement with the statement is colored by this. But I also believe the future isn’t just female, but diversity and openness in general.

Are there projects you are involved in that we should know about?

Currently I am trying to learn two languages in order to further my goal of studying and working in other countries. This will hopefully have a positive impact on petroleum industry processes and sustain our environment in order to preserve our future.

Thank you for sharing this with us Temisan. We look forward to your accomplishments in the field of STEM.

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