Recently we decided to look beyond entrepreneurism for inspiring young people. Having known Chinwe for many years at Loughborough University, she deserves to be an academic role model. Discover the attitudes that make a excellent student and see what success means for Chinwe. More interviews from academic and social role models to come. Read on, Be inspired!    

 

Background

I have recently concluded my PhD at the School of Electronic, Electrical & Systems Engineering at Loughborough University, with my final thesis corrections just recently approved. I obtained a Masters' degree in 2009 from the same university and graduated from the University Of Lagos, Nigeria in the same field in 2006. I am from Nigeria and love God, family, friends, intelligent conversations, music and sewing.

Why you studied electrical engineering, masters’ then a Ph.D

For me, it was either going to be Maths or Electrical Engineering at the University level, and with sound advice from my parents and tutors, I decided on Electrical Engineering. I graduated with a First Class which was a good thing. At that time in Nigeria, in order to boost your career prospects, a Masters was key. Given the educational environment in Nigeria, I decided on an MSc abroad, in the UK, for which I had a tuition scholarship from the University. During my MSc project, I was offered a fully funded PhD although I had no plans prior to that time on doing one. So it was almost like having a full-time job with the perks of being a student which was nice. 

The main motivations to pursue with a PhD was the opportunity I saw to develop and stretch myself, and having a great family behind me and a ‘Dr’ in front of my name, made it all so worth it. Also, meeting all the great people and going beyond my comfort zone whilst seeing the results were also key for me. These periods of study especially the last four years, have made me realise that everyone should live their lives beyond their jobs or studies, I have grown to realise that people are more important than all the money and happiness and contentment is wealth.

You have received a few awards, what are they for?

Yes, I got three prizes after my MSc - the Best Student Prize - for having the highest score on my course, Best Project Prize - for having the highest score on the projects and Graduate School Faculty of Engineering Prize - a prize that took into account academic and non-academic achievements, which all had certificates and monies attached to them. I won the highest University Prize - the Sir Robert Martin University Prize, last year, - takes into account academic and non-academic achievements had a certificate, medal, money and a reception with the VC. I was nominated in the Innovation (Science & Technology) and Young Person of the Year in the 2012 Future Awards, which was a great honor in itself. I am not sure of the requirements.

Did you achieve these successes due to your cleverness or are there habits to your success

Maybe I'm a bit clever, but that's just a small factor. For me, it was a case of understanding myself, how I work best, what works best for me, having all the necessary support around me, willing to ask questions and learn from any one even a half-year old. Also, keeping God and family as top priority, and living a balanced academic, spiritual and social life has helped at every stage of my study.

 

What else did you do aside study?

I am very involved and committed in my local church. I worked throughout my studies in the UK, first as a cleaner in primary schools, in McDonalds restaurant, and as a note-taker with the University’s Counselling office. I run a small clothing retail business with my siblings and a few others. Diversity is key to me enjoying life.

Do you have future plans relevant to your degree?

I am working as a Research Associate with Loughborough University for now, and working towards being the Minister of Education in Nigeria in the future. I also hope to work in the industry for more practical experience. I hope to have a school one day, where I can impart my knowledge on the coming generations. My future career will most likely be in education, thanks to my mother who being a teacher herself influenced me from a young age that good education is paramount for global progression . And I’ve just begun my evening sewing classes that I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t due to other commitments.

 

What advice can you give student to attain top Academic grades as well as an all-round personal development while studying?

Know what works for you. For instance, I study best on my own in my room on my bed in quiet, never been a library person except to collect or return books. It helps to get involved in other activities that will grow and develop your character and get you out of your comfort zone. You also have to be principled and stand what you morally believe in, even if you stand alone. The university is a great opportunity to learn how to live a balanced lifestyle while managing multiple interests, and it is still possible to excel academically. Finally, the willingness to learn from other people you meet in the various facets of your life will increase your ‘common sense’.