Stephen Obadinma, a PhD candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering, is delighted to have been named the recipient of this year’s Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowship, an award that goes to an Indigenous or Black student pursuing a doctoral degree in engineering.
“The Black element is important,” he says of the recognition. “I got to Queen’s and saw a lot of fellow students and researchers, but there was not a lot of Black representation. To be recognized for that, it shows that Queen’s is encouraging more Black people to become researchers. Oftentimes it really seems that there are not a whole lot of us trying to pursue research.”
Obadinma was just six years old when he arrived in Canada from Nigeria. His father, a university lecturer with a PhD in metallurgical and materials engineering, moved the family to Ontario in hopes of finding a faculty position in his field. Instead, he struggled. He did not hold a degree from a North American university, and he was Black, so inevitably he found himself marked an outsider. His son quickly understood that it could be difficult for Black people and for people from developing nations to find opportunities for professional advancement in Canada.
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