I met Innocenter during my employment as a tutor at AIMS in Ghana. Here is our interview about her scientific journey:
Kindly state your name please.
My name is Innocenter Amima
What do you do currently?
I am a project analyst at Robert Bosch East Africa. I am currently using my research, analytical and problem solving skills in a project about renewable energy. The project is about ensuring that people living in rural areas with competing needs are able to afford hot water. We do this by installing solar water heaters from Bosch via an amazing micro–credit business model. Here, I have the opportunity to work autonomously, and develop my interpersonal and people management skills.
How has your life journey been?
I was born at the Tsavo National Park in the coastal region of Kenya. My mother accompanied by my father and friends were on their way to the hospital when I decided it was time and I could not wait any longer to see the world!!
I went to various primary schools given that my parents moved a lot before they settled at our hometown in Nyamira county. I completed my 8th grade from Bisamm Academy and secondary school from Sironga Girls High School in Nyamira county. I moved to Nairobi for the first time in 2010 to pursue my undergraduate at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
After my degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, I become a banker and worked in various positions mainly in the areas of IT and analytics. After one year, I decided to pursue a Masters in mathematical sciences at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Ghana. On completion, I went to AIMS-South Africa for my research Masters under the guidance of Dr. Gaston Mazandu.
After my AIMS journey was complete I choose to take a break and went back to industry specifically to apply the analytical skills acquired and for my passion to help businesses grow through data usage.
Please share with us some of your inspirations and challenges.
Challenges: Growing up I went through challenges but I decided that I was not going to be defined by that and life is what you actually make out of it. In the recent years, I have sort of struggled with imposter syndrome and I would literally shrink in front of amazing people if my position felt threatened or I just felt lesser in terms of my accomplishments and skills. This affected my performance and I had to train myself to manage it effectively.
Inspiration: I have been inspired by so many people growing up as I had to learn various things from each person. My primary Maths teacher saw something that I had not seen in myself – he ensured that he gave me extra work to do and he would follow-up diligently. Because of people like him and my family, I am interested in the opportunities Mathematics and Technology can offer. I have co-founded an initiative to excite and empower young learners to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine (STEMM) related courses. The teachers regularly inform us about the performance of the students. Seeing the improvement in marks because of the initiative and getting compliments for my achievements keeps me moving. I do not intend to settle for less. Currently, am being intentional in everything I do, setting goals, having a discipline and self-belief.
What should we know about you outside work?
I recently challenged myself and did high ropes at Malewa conservancy and zip lining (6 zip lines a total of 2.2Kms) at The Kereita Forest. Walking on a piece of wood and nothing else was scary – the adrenaline! The fact that I wanted to quit but encouraged myself to finish as I had initially planned was a rewarding feeling. I like engaging in outdoor activities and sometimes I will just prefer to stay indoors to recollect.
Have you received any achievements and awards so far?
I am a co-founder of Hesabu Kwa Wote (HKW), initiative that empowers young learners to pursue STEMM courses and careers in the rural areas who might not have had an opportunity to know the impact of Mathematics and Technology in our daily lives. We even got featured in a local newspaper :-).
I have co-authored one publication.
In 2017-2018, I was a co-chair of the AIMS Women In Science South Africa chapter and co-organizer of most events where women were empowered to pursue or stay in STEMM related careers.
I have received the following awards
- In 2017, I was awarded a scholarship to do my research masters by AIMS and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Canada).
- In 2015, I was awarded the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship to pursue my Masters in Mathematical Sciences.
- In 2015, my team at the bank was awarded the World Class Cup Team Winners for exemplary team performance.
What quotes carry significant meaning to you?
“Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important.” by Jaachynma N.E. Agu
“Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am – and what I need – is something I have to find out myself.” by Chinua Achebe
Please leave us with a word of encouragement.
You can achieve almost everything if you can start with believing in yourself, setting your own goals and keep resetting the goals over time. Never be afraid to take some time out when there is a lot on your plate to handle – your mental health is very crucial. Find out who you are and live your own truth. Do not forget to be your own cheerleader!
Thank you Innocenter for taking your time to speak with me.