The application of knowledge, gained from the study of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, to solving challenges in one’s immediate environment in an entrepreneurial manner was the gist of deliberations held at the 2023 commemoration of the International Day of Girls and Women in Science by the University of Lagos Branch of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).
Held at the Faculty of Science Board Room on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, the event had in attendance accomplished women scientists from the academia and industry, as well as young science students drawn from various schools across Education District IV of Lagos State.
In her welcome address, the Coordinator of OWSD-UNILAG, Dr. Taofikat Adesalu of Botany Department defined Science as the solution to the existential challenges of mankind. She encouraged the young students present at the event to make the most of the occasion, in terms of learning and connecting with older scientists for mentorship.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, was represented at the event by the Director of Distance Learning Institute, UNILAG, Professor Uchena Udeani. She congratulated OWSD-UNILAG for the continuous organisation of the programme since its inception.
A scientist herself, the Vice-Chancellor pledged her continued support for the organisation and its activities on campus.
“My mission of a FUTURE-READY university is based on the premise that male and female staff and students will have the enabling environment to excel”, she said.
A specialist in Entrepreneurship and Senior Lecturer in the University’s Department of Economics, Dr. Ayodele Shittu gave the first presentation on Entrepreneurship and STEM Education: Building the Connection for the Future. He urged the young scientists to crave knowledge and aim to bring it to bear on their society in an innovative manner.
“With scientific knowledge, you may either be an Inventor or an Innovator. If you discover something and you stop there, you are an Inventor; but if you go ahead to apply your discovery to solving existing problems in a new way, you are an Innovator. The Innovator is more likely to make more money that the Inventor”, he said.
The second presentation on Connection between Entrepreneurship and STEM Education was by a Chartered Accountant and Director of SAS Textiles, Mrs Oluwatoyin Bakare. The seasoned entrepreneur urged the girls to look at her and other accomplished professionals in the room as inspiration. She charged them be proud of their gender and to apply themselves to their studies, so that they can become shining stars of tomorrow.
A highlight of the event was the recognition of senior members of OWSD-UNILAG who have retired from the services of the University of Lagos. They include: Professor Grace Ukpo, Professor Olasimbo Aboaba, Professor O. Magbagbeola, Professor Winifred Makanjuola, and Professor Olubunmi Otubanjo.
As part of its commitment to promoting entrepreneurship among young female scientists, OWSD-UNILAG presented starter kits to two students who emerged winners of Vocational Skills competitions. Ms. Semilore Akinsanya of the State Junior High School (Special), Surulere, Lagos and Ms. Folarin Sarah of Eletu Odibo Junior High School were the two beneficiaries.