Honoring Women in STEM: Esther Obonyo

Associate Professor, School of Engineering Design and Innovation

What is your area of expertise and what is your research focus?

Sustainable and Resilient, Low Income Housing, Low Cost Sensors

How did you end up in STEM?

I stumbled upon an undergraduate major that allowed me to combine my interest in technology with design.

What hurdles or challenges (big or small) did you find as you pursued your career in STEM? What challenges do you face today?

Lack of black, female role models in my discipline. I am usually the only black woman in the room –  I get really excited when I walk into the room and see another black woman. This does not happen regularly.

What or who was an inspiration or support for you?

My parents – I always bounce off ideas with them before making any decisions.

Why is it important for women to be in STEM and specifically your field?

Everything that has been done in the (white) male-dominated building sector so far has not really worked well. We need new perspectives. Attracting more women will address this need.  

What can be done to recruit more women into STEM?

Increasing the visibility of work that focuses on social impact / social justice / energy justice.

What advice would you give to girls and young women going into STEM?

Find your passion and use it as your true north.

Is there anything else you would like to add on the subject of women in STEM?

I am the very proud daughter of a stay-at-home mum.