I was born in Zimbabwe, where I had a nourishing childhood in a rural community that prided itself in hospitality, compassion, and creativity. Our lush natural environment provided a rich scenic landscape and one of my fondest memories was foraging for wild fruit. On the same note, this was a very arduous time because being black meant that I had terribly limited civil liberties in a colonized country that practiced segregation. Those unfortunate policies made access to education very challenging but once the opportunity arose, I was determined to never look back.
Landing on the Drexel University campus in 1995 exposed my insecurities as a learner but I knew that my relationship with this place would give me more than anything that had ever been taken away from me. In 1999, I was fortunate to be selected by Lucent Technologies (a Bell Labs innovation) for my third co-op. At that time, the company was one of the top innovators in telecommunications technology and I was really inspired to work with first-class engineers on state-of-the-art projects. What I appreciated about the team I worked with is that they considered me as their peer and hence I got to work on tangible projects as a system tester. It was a laid-back work environment that fostered a dedication to a standard of aptitude I had not experienced before. On any given day, I could have been in a meeting discussing system requirements with folks who hold patents that have shifted the industry profoundly. I found myself emulating my colleagues and began to grasp the development life cycle of a project. In this role, we were tasked to evaluate the complete system against the specified requirements. In order to contribute to a successful project launch, I was groomed for the highest levels of integrity, curiosity and excellence. This shaped me into an engineer who is intentional about how I participate in teamwork because I am aware of the influence my intellect and character have on the world.
Two decades later, I now work for the esteemed Neuromodulation business unit at Abbott Labs as a Field Clinical Engineer supporting investigators and serving patients who participate in our medical device clinical studies. In honor of my native Zimbabwe, I earned a PhD in Sustainability that has given me the tools to run a non-profit whose ambition is to alleviate poverty in my village.
It goes without saying that the Drexel Co-op century has created and hence invested in an educational legacy that actively shapes the world every day. My time at Drexel strengthened my wings so I can fly high and proudly so, as a Drexel Dragon. I’m keenly grateful to everyone I encountered in my co-op years because their mentorship and support molded me into the leader I am today. Of special mention: Dave Keenan, Alan Plofker, Sammy Cheng-Robles, Tom Grace, Ephi Rubin and Kevin Scoles – thank you all for believing in me and for your part in lifting up minority women in STEM.