The Voice Youth Bantaba with Alkali Cham
Taking into the notice of our various readers the positive performances of youths in their various areas of operation in our society to serve as a source of inspiration to others that are looking for mentorship. The Voice Youth Bantaba, in this week’s edition, introduces Nyima Jobarteh, an academic genius.
Nyima Jobarteh is an electrical engineer working at the Department of Distribution and Transmission of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC).
She is a personality that crossed all hurdles to reach the apex in the field of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics(STEM), a field predominantly dominated by male counterparts. And irrespective of cultural beliefs and increasing stereotypes directed to the female gender that pursue STEM careers, Nyima Jobarteh held her shoulder high in the field of STEM to reach the limelight. Read more about her in the excerpt.
The Voice: Welcoming you to this platform, can you introduce yourself to the readers who always want to know you?
Eng Jobarteh: I’m Nyima Jobarteh, I hold a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Power and Automation). I work at NAWEC’s Transmission and Distribution Department as an Electrical Engineer. I’m also the Public Relations Officer of Women in STEM Gambia and Advisor National Society of Black Engineers(NSBE) Gambia Chapter.
The Voice: What influenced you to pursue STEM as a career more specifically engineering?
Eng Jobarteh: I was sent to Bottrop Technical Junior Secondary School by my dad and that exposed me to a technical environment. By default, all female students go to Home Economics class but I felt so bored in that class. Having put my head on the desk while class was on, the teacher sent me out of her class. I then went to attend the metal work class after that, I immediately fell in love with Engineering.
The Voice: What is your passion in the field of electrical engineering?
Eng Jobarteh: I just happen to love anything that has to do with electricity generation and transmission.
The Voice: Many described this field as a career path for only male counterparts, what do you have to say about this?
Eng Jobarteh: I would like to mention that every human being should have the freedom to do whatever they desire to do. We excel in what we have passion in. Therefore nobody should be limited by gender in pursuing their dream career. That being said, I can tell you I have seen very smart and productive female Engineers who are doing tremendously well in this field. So, no, this field is not for males alone. I am an Electrical Engineer and I am a female.
The Voice: How do you feel being placed in a field dominated by male counterparts?
Eng Jobarteh: I feel great! I love challenges and being unique is what I love. It’s a challenge to work with some men in a domain they believe is theirs but we scale through every day.
The voice: Cultural beliefs mostly undermine the performance of ladies that are in STEM careers, Did you by any chance experience such?
Eng Jobarteh: I am still experiencing such. I have gotten used to being looked at as a weird person because I chose to be an engineer. It’s taboo to climb up heights as a lady in our culture and that is a single part of my job, so you can imagine.
The Voice: Do you intend to quit this field for other less challenging jobs, if not why?
Eng Jobarteh: I cannot imagine myself doing away with this career because as I mentioned above, I love anything that has to do with electricity generation and transmission. Energy is what I love dealing with. If it gets to a stage where I intend to do something less challenging I will still look for a lighter path in the energy field. There are a lot of them I can do without sweating. People need to know that engineering is wide and not all need heavy weight lifting (which is even being discouraged now) and harder work.
The Voice: Could you share some of the challenges you faced ranging from your studies to employment in the field of engineering?
Eng Jobarteh: My biggest challenge was getting a scholarship in time to pursue a degree in the field so dear to my heart. It took me 9 years to get this done. Getting employed after GTTI was also a bit of a challenge but that wasn’t as hard as the scholarship part.
The Voice: What is the funniest moment of your life you wish to share with the readership?
Eng Jobarteh: One of them would be the day I left Kotu Power Station on my overall to our headquarters in Kanifing. I almost couldn’t get a taxi because they stop, looked at me, and zoom off. Even the ladies at the headquarters couldn’t recognize me or stop themselves from looking at me weirdly. This was roughly ten years ago!
The Voice: What do you do in your leisure time?
Eng Jobarteh: Internet surfing, reciting Qur’an, and watching TV.
The Voice: What is your favourite food?
Eng Jobarteh: Super kanja
The Voice: On a last note, what advice will you share with those who believe STEM is not a career to be undertaken by females and young girls especially?
Eng Jobarteh: I would advise them to do away with that stereotype issue. A lot of STEM fields need females. For example, as a woman, I would 100 times love to be examined by a female gynecologist than a male gynecologist. Also, it’s important to have both male and female leaders in technology companies and institutions to help both genders have a voice and a shoulder to lean on. It is also important that both men and women are trained in these fields if we are serious about the rapid development of our dear country.
Every young girl out there should please go into the STEM fields with her head held high! Know that nobody can stop you. You can be anything you wish to be. Don’t let anyone limit your dreams.
The Voice: Thanks for speaking to The Voice Youth Bantaba
Eng Jobarteh: It’s my pleasure having me.