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She always wanted a career in health, either as a Midwife or a Medical Doctor…

You probably have that big picture of where you want to be or what you want to be doing at certain periods in your lifetime. Only to realize one day, that life has other ideas.

When you find yourself at this point, you need to know to look at the bright side, because there always will be one!

Meet our amazing #StemWoman Dr. Weyoms, a Pediatrician and early career researcher. She always wanted a career as a Midwife or Medical Doctor. Yet, Life has other ideas. Read her story

Tell us about yourself

My name is Oritseweyinmi Erikowa-Orighoye. I am also known as Dr. Weyoms. I am a Paediatrician with interests in environmental and public health, and currently, my main research focus is on public health focused on nutrition and physical activity among children in Nigeria.

I am also a Communications & Research Specialist passionate about problem-solving, conflict resolution, and personal development. I am from Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. I speak English and Russian languages fluently.

Your Educational Background:

I have a Doctor of Medicine degree from Dnipropetrovsk State Medical Academy, Ukraine. MRes in Paediatrics from Odessa State Medical University, Ukraine which qualifies me as a Paediatrician and an early career researcher. Furthermore, I have a taught Masters from the University of Salford in the UK in Occupational, Safety, Health and Wellbeing. I am currently doing a Ph.D. in Nutrition and Dietetics at Leeds Beckett University, UK

How did you get into STEM and what has been your experience so far?

I always wanted to do a career in health either as a Midwife or a medical doctor. When the opportunity came for Medicine, I was excited to do it. I did not really plan to be in academia doing research in life and social sciences.

I just wanted to be a Paediatrician and mind my hospital work, but things took a different turn when I wanted to choose the pathway for residency. Here came Academic Paediatrics! I did a residency in Paediatrics with research and teaching at the forefront and it was mindblowing-thanks to a wonderful supervisor back then in Ukraine.

Returning back to Nigeria in 2016, I did a bit of work in the hospital and communities. I worked as a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Intern and also got involved in adolescent health and community development. It was during my hospital work, I knew I had more questions that required research, so I took the challenge to be in academia.

Dr. Weyoms during fieldwork in Nigeria

Your typical day at work involves…

This is going to be an awkward one. My workdays start off different times. Well typically, it will be prayer and quiet time. Breakfast and prepared lunch for the family. Run through my to-do list depending on how much work I have to do. Check my emails. Read one or two important articles relating to my research. I am now writing my thesis, so I can write in small chunks for an hour or two. Then, I read up the latest news in my field especially with nutrition, physical activity, and international development. I check up on mentees and maybe attend a workshop if there’s one. I sometimes, get health-related questions like mini consultations, so I signpost them to the necessary care providers. I can end my day’s work at 2 pm depending on what’s happening for me. Evenings are spent with family, preparing for the next day and catching up with what’s relevant for me on social media. I may read a book before sleeping.

What were you doing the last time you looked at the clock and realized you had lost all track of time?

I was inputting my last data collection into a database for the qualitative study I recently concluded. And yes, 4 hours flew like a very fast light.

How do you “destress” and strike the work-life balance?

I go for a walk in the park or just do long walks. I listen to music and I really do not joke with my sleep. Also, I do my tasks in small chunks, so I do not overload my days with activities. Sundays are mainly for church and afterward sleeping unless there’s some kind of owambe which hardly happens.

Your favorite work tools?

Can I say Microsoft and anything Google? I just love using them. Canva- I use this to be creative for my blog posts and anything creative. Inshot for Videos. I am not so techy so I still do a lot of manual stuff like having a noticeboard at home in the kitchen, a diary to write down all I have to do and sticky notes. I am still kind of old school in some things.

Your Philosophy/Motivation to work?

That will be from the Holy Bible and it is Colossians 3:23. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Have you faced any difficulties so far? Or ever felt like you were not treated as equal?

Well yes, I have been in many situations that I haven’t been treated equally especially for someone who studied in Eastern Europe, but if you believe in yourself, nobody can stop you from doing exceedingly well.

Life has difficulties. Last year was a difficult year for me, but I was just showing up through the season to become someone better. Again believing in myself and holding on to faith in Christ keeps me going.

What are some things people and organizations could do to get more women in STEM?

People need to stop putting up man-made barriers regarding STEM for women. We have to pull down our perceptions that STEM will hinder women from doing excellently well in life. Every woman has her calling and purpose, if it is in STEM, don’t hinder it. For organizations, if women have the resources, knowledge, and experience in the area of STEM they major in, give them the chance to showcase their skills. Don’t say maternal duties will be a hindrance or pay will be small because of gender.

The same way men are given opportunities, women should be given the same opportunities, let’s all be treated equally as humans.

What’s the best thing/highlight and worst/failure of your career so far? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The best thing in my career is asking all the questions I can possibly ask and always going back to my drawing board. I am not a one way kind of woman, I like to have different routes to the desired goal. The worst thing about my career is the journey is so long abeg (laughing) and the limited number of mentors around me at the initial and even current stage. However, the lesson to take home for me is always positioning yourself for any kind of opportunity that will take you one step towards your desired career.

Your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

In this season, like right now, my favorite quote is,

“Open the window of your mind. Allow the fresh air, new lights, and new truths to enter”. -Amit Ray

Please recommend someone you’d like to see featured on #STEMStories: I will recommend Oyinkansola Fadiji. She works in the area of Parasitology.

So So Random: What can’t you do without

Hair or heels?: Heels

Jewelry or make-up: Neither

Books or movies: Books

Club or Cafe: Cafe

DIY or Pay someone: Pay Someone

Connect with Dr. Weyoms via her social media handles Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram

CAWSTEM is a community of African women in STEM. We are a female-led crew, on a mission to rewrite the narrative about having few women in STEM and, especially in leadership positions. You can join the community here

Every Tuesday, we publish stories here about African women’s journey in STEM. We know every STEM woman’s story is unique…so we tell these stories to inspire our community. If you would like to share your story with us, send an email to content@cawstem.org, we can’t wait to read from you!

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