Nimi Oladapo is a 2nd year student at the University of Sheffield whose career choice already has her jet-setting across the world to the Far East and inspired to make her mark on the engineering world.
Last summer, The 20 year old was awarded a internship focused on energy efficiency at the Global Efficient Lighting Centre office at the NLTC (National Lighting Test Centre) in China
On where it all began, Nimi tells how her mother noticed how she was tailored to her current career path from when she was young:”My mum realised I wouldn’t go and play with dolls. I would literally try and figure out a thing was the way it was. Take it apart and just try and put it back to do when I was younger. That’s all I would do.”
She also credited her on deciding which A Levels to take “My favourite subject was history and I wanted to maybe go down that route and do law. My mum said she couldn’t seeing me doing history but she could see me doing engineering. Before then, I’d never been exposed to engineering or what it actually is but my Dad did engineering. I kept saying “I’m not a mechanic, I’m not a man” I genuinely thought it was a man’s job.”
So she decided to put in the same effort and love she had for history into sciences and realised she really enjoyed it.
Then, she got into the University of Sheffield in September 2015 to study Chemical Engineering (the transformation and raw processing of materials we use in our everyday lives) and took on the title of Vice President of Sheffield’s division of Women in Engineering which promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects to young women and girls in schools as a future career path.
The internship opportunity to work in China arose from applying through her university’s Career Connect service which wasn’t an easy ride as she was rejected from the first internship she applied for and her Mandarin skills weren’t perfected for some time:
“I kept calling through and chased up on it but didn’t hear anything. Somehow I managed to contact the Chinese company and they told me it was down to me and someone else but because I couldn’t speak fluent Chinese they didn’t think I would be able to work in the office as everything is in Chinese. When I got shut down from the first company I could’ve been like “Ahh no, that’s it” but I was like “No, I want to go to China!” that’s the kind of person I am, that drive and determination will help me in my future career.”
Through persistence and self belief, she managed to nail the opportunity which had her learning about energy efficiency and how sustainable living systems are achieved within the company’s work.
On what she personally took from the experience she said ” I feel like energy efficiency is for me, or trying to improve lower carbon economy and sustainable living. The kind of scope I want to go into is operations, so a hands-on role and have that contact in improving the lives of people.”
My mum realised I wouldn’t go and play with dolls. I would literally try and figure out a thing was the way it was. Take it apart and just try and put it back to do when I was younger. That’s all I would do.
Despite Nimi’s glowing record of achievements in the engineering world, she credits the work she’s done to positively influence her mindset to propel her forward to achieve success in scoring her internship. One key moment was attending The Powerlist Foundation Deloitte Leadership Programme last summer which aimed to promote leadership qualities to those of African and Caribbean descent.
“On that programme, there were people my age who achieved amazing things, just seeing that passion and drive was so amazing. Surrounded by like minded people and game changers, just being in that programme changed my outlook on everything. We got to hear from world class leaders, One of the speakers, she was honestly so inspiring and seeing someone so successful it just inspired me that “Wow, I can’t just sit around and just do my degree. You know what I want to do more, and inspire more people. The more you can inspire people, the more you can influence the world positively. Because I may not be be doing this degree if I did not hear from people who actually inspired me and make people realise like “Wow, you can be a woman and an engineer and be successful in this industry.””
The programme completely changed her view of herself to reach her breakthrough and biggest learning curve of 2016 she expressed”Once you have that mindset as well, you stop thinking that things are too big for you. Even applying for summer placements, some of them would literally say “We want someone in their penultimate year” and I’m still going to go ahead and apply to them because if that’s God’s plan for my life then that’s what I’m meant to do, and if I’m capable of it, I will get it.
The most important thing you’ve got in life is your mind, once your mind starts to get affected, it affects your productivity as well. It’s when you change your mind, that’s when you can be the person you’re meant to be.”
On what defines ‘Her Independence of Spirit‘ she says “My ultimate goal in life is to have an impact on the daily lives of others. My main aim is to see what I’m doing affects the world in a positive way. It may be something that is seen as little but in my field of things it may be seen as something massive. For example, just knowing that you’re the one that adapted a process to make it more economically viable – something that affects the daily lives of people and knowing that what you’re doing is improving the world in some way.
Once your mind starts to get affected, it affects your productivity as well. It’s when you change your mind, that’s when you can be the person you’re meant to be.
On the qualities that allow her to “I’m quite intuitive and I like to be challenged. I want something that’s actually going to challenge, and I feel like it’s a constant everyday thing in what I do is something that is constantly evolving and changing.
With no set path fully defined at the moment, Nimi expressed interest in possibly doing finance “I feel like that I’m very intrinsically motivated, whatever I want to achieve I will do my very best and if I definitely want something I will do anything I can to achieve it.”But doesn’t believe in limiting herself “I don’t want to do the same thing. I want something that allows me to display a range of skills not just one. All I know is that I’m a very hands on people kind of person, so I don’t want to do the same thing. I definitely like something that allows me to grow as a person and in every shape and form.
I’m still going to go ahead and apply to them because if that’s God’s plan for my life then that’s what I’m meant to do, and if I’m capable of it, I will get it.
From my interview with Nimi, I personally learnt how success comes from the whole package from how you carry yourself has to be shaped to achieve success. We chatted about how the other details in life matter like health, to which she shared how she changed her diet to be healthier to achieve a healthier mindset and being.
It wasn’t solely about the grades and gaining the right career opportunities – success stemmed from how you treated yourself , fuelled your mindset and carried yourself in the little things you carried out everyday, which was apparent from how she was immaculately dressed and warm nature. Even though she’s younger than me, she almost intimidated me with her unwavering self confidence that she shared had stemmed from knowing her identity in God. She’s a true inspiration of where a positive attitude and incandescent desire to strive for more gets you in life.