By Victoria Ojeme
The interim President, World Institute of Nuclear Security, Comfort Offornedu, has said that her mother’s strong belief in the educational empowerment of the girl-child, fire-lighted her into becoming one of the major voices in the nuclear space.
Offornedu is a highly inspired young female Physicist, with broad experience in law enforcement and Security Services; CBRN Incident management; Conducting Physical Security inspections and Radiological and Nuclear response simulation exercises. Trained and certified by some of the world best chemical and nuclear security expert organizations, including OPCW, IAEA, US DOE, NNSA, World Nuclear University (WNU) and World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS)
Speaking to VANGUARD Correspondent, the Imo state born, while revealing her life story on how she grew to prominence as a strong voice in nuclear security in the world, Offornedu stated that aside her mother’s belief on education and empowerment of the girl-child, her uniqueness as an emerging science guru in the country was as a result of her self-motivation; determination and focus on being a worthy voice in the world of sciences.
The Alumni of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, despite challenges by the number faced during her childhood days, she remained resilient, sticking to her dream of aiming to be a great physicist after she bagged her Bachelor’s of Technology in Industrial Physics, today, she stands tall as an industrial Physicist as well as Post Graduate Studies in Radiation and Medical Physics.
Urging women not to see marriage as the apex of a woman’s achievement, she advised women to set-out goals and ensure that they are achieved, particularly taking affirmative steps into the world of science to explore the world of Nuclear energy and radiation applications regardless of their gender status.
Hear her: “Born in a small village of Akpulu in Imo State, growing up during the nursery and primary school days was with my grandmother. Happily, I did not allow my humble beginning to deter me or hinder my tall dreams of being a career woman.
‘After my secondary education, most of my mates got married because our culture and tradition unfortunately encourage such practice. Then, this belief that training a woman in school is a waste of time and resources. Thank God, a lot of changes have taken place now. Despite these challenges, fortune smiled on me because my Mother believes so much in girl-child education and empowerment.
“At the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, where I obtained Bachelors of Technology in Industrial Physics, my strength came from the quest to become a great Physicist and ultimately prove that training a woman pays and she should not be considered as a second class citizen.
“Today, I am happy, standing tall with B. Tech in Industrial Physics, as well as Post Graduate Studies in Radiation and Medical Physics.
“This great career path has brought out the best in me as a leader and a voice to reckon with in Nuclear Science and Radiation applications. Also, my uniqueness as an emerging Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) leader in our country with different cultures, beliefs and practices, is self-motivation; determination and focus on being a global name and voice in the science sector.
“Today, I am a World Institute for Nuclear Security Ambassador and a Fellow, Radiation Technologies, World Nuclear University (WNU).
“Currently, I am heading a Radiological and Nuclear Section in my organisation. This is a rare position for a woman to head and being a Physicist has helped me build my career in the Nuclear Science and Radiation applications
“On a day that women are being appreciated globally, Women in Nuclear are here to celebrate all of you, our future emerging global women leaders, and encourage you to embrace and take up Courses in STEM.
“Please, my beautiful ones, let us consider some reasons that should motivate you to take up STEM courses. STEM education will give you skills that would make you employable and ready to meet the current labour demands.
“Being a Scientist gives you an in-depth understanding of the world around you. It helps you to become better at research and critical thinking. Technology prepares young people like you to work in an environment full of high-tech innovations. Engineering allows students like you to acquire problem-solving skills and apply knowledge in new projects.
“Mathematics enables you to analyse information, eliminate errors, and make conscious decisions when designing solutions. STEM education prepares professionals who can transform society with innovation and sustainable solutions.
“It motivates and inspires young people to generate new technologies ideas. STEM education will give you an understanding of concepts and encourages knowledge application. To keep it short, the aim of STEM education can be formulated in two simple actions: explore and experience. As Students taking courses in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics, you are free to exercise what you learn; embrace mistakes, and proffer solutions in a risk-free environment.
“You will also engage in Project-based learning and problem-solving that will help you to form a special mind set. STEM education core is in flexibility and curiosity, which equips you in responding to real-world challenges.Above all, it will give you a rare opportunity as young women to explore the world of Nuclear energy and Radiation applications where you can express yourself competently and compete favourably on the global stage. Be bold, make a choice today to take up courses in STEM. See you at the topmost top.”