Amanda and I connected on LinkedIn after she liked one of the STEM stories I featured. I reached out to her for an interview, and with a positive response we scheduled time for it. Here is is our interview about her STEM experience:
Hi Amanda, thank you for joining us today!
Hi Winnie, thank you for the invitation.
Give us a brief introduction of who you are
My name is Amanda Anesisa Gumpo from Zimbabwe. I am currently a graduate trainee Civil Technician at a Structural Consulting Firm based in Bulawayo. I am also the Community Manager for Tea In 60; a community that seeks to bring about the much needed practical one-on-one conversations between girls interested in STEM and women already in the field through a 60 minute conversation. Lastly, but definitely not least, I am the Vice Secretary for Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers – Matebeleland Chapter.
Walk us through your life journey
I am the first born in a family of two girls, born to Mr and Mrs N Gumpo. I was born and breed in the City of Queens and Kings – Bulawayo – in one of the oldest surburbs in the city Mzilikazi. I did my primary education at Mckeurtan Primary, then went on to do my secondary education at St. Columbus High. I later joined Bulawayo Polytechnic to pursue a National Diploma in Civil Engineering. I have always been passionate about Mathematics and drawing so choosing Civil Engineering came from the heart. l also knew that conventional career was not for me. l wanted a career which would challenge me and allow me to be the best version of myself. Plus of course the awesome part of showing up in office in my Chuck Taylor Allstars and not feeling out of place, haha.
I am blessed to have an awesome support system in my family and close friends. They have been there from day one! My parents have never questioned my career choice in a society where engineering is labelled a man’s job. They have instead shown me maximum support.
What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in Engineering?
Taking up a career in STEM as a woman has many challenges! I find myself having to work twice as hard as the next person, just to challenge the norm. I dream of a world where it will be normal for girls be become engineers and that world starts with me sharing my story. One by one, we shall overcome the obstacles – at least for the coming generations.
What inspires you as a female engineer?
That young girl from Mzilikazi who has not seen many women in engineering. I want her to have someone to look up to, a woman to seek advice from and be mentored. I want that girl to know that a career in Engineering is possible no matter where you come from. A girl from Kasi can become one of the best Structural Engineers in the world. So those young girls inspire me every day, without forgetting my younger sister; an Agronomist in the making.
Who is Amanda outside work?
I am a pastry chef – l love baking and making all things sweet. I am a book worm – l enjoy reading a lot! Lastly, I am a fan of Poetry.
Share with us some of your prestigious achievements and awards in life
I don’t want to say achievements but let me mention my most memorable highlights; in 2019, I was chosen as part of the first cohort of WomEng Fellows in Zimbabwe.
In my final year of college l was chosen as the Student Representative (Technicians) for Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers – Matebeleland Chapter. That same year, together with a colleague we ran a photo campaign for International Women In Engineering Day and our collage was noticed by UNESCO Southern Africa. It was profiled on UNESCO’s social media platforms on the day.
What is your favourite quote?
Romans 8 v 28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. I believe that whatever situation we experience in life, whether we view it as good or bad, it is just a stepping stone to the greater good we are destined for.
Lastly, what is your word of encouragement to young girls out there?
Always know why you started and never forget so as when the going gets tough you will remember and persevere.
Thank you, Amanda! It was wonderful spending time with you. Thanks for the wonderful work you do for girls in STEM. We look forward to more interactions.