CIBSE Role Models - Tejiri Ayerume

To celebrate Black History Month, we're interviewing members of the CIBSE community to help inspire and promote diversity amongst future engineers. This week, we hear from Tejiri Ayerume, a Mechanical Engineer at chapmanbdsp. 

My name is Tejiri Ayerume and I am a Mechanical Engineer. I got my Masters (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Warwick. I did an elective of business in my final year, so the degree title is Mechanical Engineering with Business Management. I have worked in the building services industry for over a year now at chapmanbdsp.

What first interested you in becoming an engineer? 
While studying for my GCSEs at the Ursuline Academy Ilford I was often reminded that it would soon be time to choose a career path and therefore the subjects that would allow me to follow that path. My interest in engineering stemmed from an underlying interest in architecture and the design aspects of engineering. It was when I first read the quote “Necessity is the mother of invention” that engineering truly resonated with me. These words are in my opinion central to the field of engineering. In a constantly evolving world, engineering through creativity and innovation strives to understand and solve society’s complex problems with an approach that takes into consideration efficiency, sustainability, and aesthetics.

The road to becoming an engineer was not always an easy one. As a black female I soon learned that I was the minority in a predominantly male industry. This only strengthened my resolve to break into the field and be another success story used to inspire future female engineers.

What has been the proudest moment of your career to date?
My proudest moment to date would have to be attending a Women in Engineering Science & Technology (WEST) event at Aston University for International Women’s Day. Representing chapmanbdsp alongside a colleague, I had the chance to speak with university students about the different pathways available to them and tell them a bit about my day to day work.

I love to give back, the opportunity to celebrate, integrate and elevate women in STEM subjects is something I am extremely passionate about. The event was a highlight to my year, and I look forward to attending it again in future as well as getting involved in many other STEM events.

Who has been your biggest professional role model?
Olajumoke Olufunmilola Adenowo has been a fantastic role model for me. She is an architect and not an engineer by profession. She has been described by CNN as “Africa’s Starchitect” and “the face of Architecture in Nigeria” by The Guardian. In 2018 she was listed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as one of the most inspirational women in architecture today.

As I stated earlier, before I picked engineering as my field architecture was the goal and Adenowo was the vision. I have attended a few conferences that she either spoke at or hosted in London. Just listening to her journey and hearing her words of wisdom directed me into the world of building services. She inspires me to be the best in my field and to encourage others coming after me to be their best also. As a Nigerian myself seeing another Nigerian woman in the field thriving not only encourages me but reassures me that it can be done.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Never stop asking questions. I have always been an extremely inquisitive mind. Many times along my journey, I have allowed anxiety and social awkwardness get in the way of my ability to acquire knowledge from those around me. I love to network with people and gain access to different opinions and multiple roads of thinking. I would tell my younger self to ask the hard-hitting questions, there is nothing wrong with wanting to know more. Seek advice from seniors and peers, do your best to gain insight into the inner workings of other people’s minds. The possibilities in engineering are endless and they all start with a single question.

Find out more about the work CIBSE are doing to improve Inclusivity and Diversity in the building services industry.

Read the latest articles from Black History Month on STEM Careers

If you'd like to take part in our Role Model series, please contact inclusivity@cibse.org 

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