My name is Neelo Bridgette Maseba. I am a fourth-year student at the University of Botswana pursuing a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Systems. Throughout my childhood, I was an only child surrounded by male figures and I considered them to be my role models because I liked what they did and looked up to them. That is how my inspiration of studying engineering began.
From a young age of 6, I wasn’t the typical girl child one would expect to see playing with dolls, my interest was mostly on how things were made and how they would work, and engineering became a logical extension of that. I remember fixing a broken kettle with my uncle asking how the wires were supposed to be connected and in return I got a full lecture of electronics, but I did not understand anything. My choice of career was easy because I realized that engineering is the only discipline that gave me satisfactory answers.
What excites me about engineering is that there are so many ways in which it contributes to the society. I find it to be interesting as I get to learn new things and be exposed to the industry when we do projects and make suggestions to solve problems a company may be experiencing.
My field of study was inspired by the fact that I wanted to learn, have fun, solve problems and make processes easier and more efficient. I am fascinated with the technical aspect of things and anything that will get me physically and intellectually stimulated interests me. I also considered finance in the journey of making a career decision and the only field that could offer me both was Industrial Engineering (IE). It does not limit to sciences, but I get to appreciate other subjects and how they can be used in engineering to solve problems and optimize systems. What we do impacts humanity in different ways.
Hard work, sacrifice and determination should be in place to achieve one’s dreams and success. Throughout my primary school, I was goal oriented and had a point of destination which always pushed me to score high marks and participate in math and science because it exposed me to several things that were not taught in the classroom. What I love the most about my field is the fact that it is diverse – It encompasses many aspects and subjects that make the life of someone who is into problem solving easy.
I have been treated differently because I am a woman. I come across potentially offensive jokes made by men in my field because they still live under the myth that engineering is for males. However, I am interested in pursuing a master’s Degree in manufacturing systems. I have gained valuable experience and interest by work shadowing the production manager of a company producing car harnesses. Many people are not aware of IE and the types of work industrial engineers do on a daily basis. Therefore, I would encourage the youth to choose IE if they enjoy problem solving and do not want to be limited to sciences only. Industrial engineers work in every sector because they combine technical skills with business acumen making the decisions better with the increasing and complex chunks of data. You will always have options to explore and work in different job-productions, manufacturing engineering and data analysis as an industrial engineer.
It’s never too late to follow your dreams, do not let other people choose a career for you because in the end you will be the one stuck in that unfulfilling place for the rest of your life. Make the choices of your career with comfort, knowledge, love and ambition because these key secrets will make you productive in the workforce. Lastly, find a mentor because there are people who thrive on passing along their knowledge to impact people’s lives.