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May 6, 2024

Nigerian Prof Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua emerges world’s first black woman Ph.D holder in Cybernetics

Nigerian Prof Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua emerges world’s first black woman Ph.D holder in Cybernetics

Prof Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua

By Biodun Busari

Nigerian female scholar, Professor Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua, has become the first black woman to earn a doctorate degree (Ph.D) in Cybernetics in the world.

Cybernetics is the scientific study of how information is communicated in machines and pieces of electronic equipment in comparison with how information is communicated in the brain and nervous system.

Ekeng-Itua is a pioneer educator, administrator and engineer championing leading roles in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) challenges in Africa, and paving the way for the African youth, especially girls. 

She earned the premiering degree from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom under the supervision of her first Ph.D supervisor Prof. Kevin Warwick and the first human Cyborg in the world.

Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua is a multi-award-winning professor of engineering with over 20 years of experience in Engineering and STEM Education cutting across the USA, Europe and Africa, leading the creation of innovative programmes in STEM, whose fascination with technology took root in her childhood in Nigeria. 

Surrounded by a culture that often-discouraged girls from pursuing scientific fields, she found her passion in understanding how things worked and the potential for innovation. 

Her thirst for knowledge led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, followed by a master’s degree in Mobile and Satellite Communications Engineering in the United Kingdom. 

Driven by ambition and a relentless desire to break boundaries, she went on to make history by earning her doctorate in Cybernetics.

Despite facing extra-layered challenges as a woman of color in a male-dominated field, gender biases and a lack of readily available role models, she refused to let these obstacles define her. 

Speaking about challenges encountered in achieving success in a recent interview, Ekeng-Itua said, “Every challenge became fuel for my determination. I realised that my success would not only open doors for myself but would serve as an example for other women and girls who might otherwise doubt their capabilities.”

“I am a Dreamer-Doer-Thinker, so I always had dreams, but my dreams were not necessarily focused on being ‘great’, but more on how I could be a positive change agent, and how to create initiatives, programs and technologies that will impact the world positively. I am human-centric in my approach to making positive change hence, the field of Cybernetics gave me that opportunity as Cybernetics is centered on purposeful design of technologies for society and humans. 

“This has always been my passion, and pursuing my passion and the dream to disrupt some societal misnomers propelled me to being the first black woman to earn a doctorate degree in Cybernetics. Being the first in anything is always retrospective, for me, the initial focus is always creating positively transformative impact.”

The female scholar further said her passion for Mathematics and Physics at an early age informed her choice of career.  

“I wanted to pursue a career that would give me the opportunity for creativity, innovation, collaboration, and positive impact in communities”, she added.

“It was also born from my wish at the age of nine to create platforms that connected the world to foster global unity for progress and appreciative understanding of global cultures. At that young age, I noticed a huge disconnect in what the Global North thought they knew about Africa which I call the Global South.”

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