Tchinossanda Kandimba, Women in Engineering Society, University of Leeds

Tchinossanda Kandimba

What inspired you to become interested in the field of engineering/computing?

I became interested in the field of petroleum engineering when I learnt that Angola, my home country, depended on the oil and gas industry for its growth and development. This information provided me with the drive to study and become knowledgeable about a field of engineering that directly impacts the quality of life of the citizens of Angola and all other countries with oil and gas reserves.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Leeds?

I chose to study at the University of Leeds because it was evident to me when I visited the university that students had a voice in their university experience. I was impressed by the various investments that the university had already made and still planned to make to improve the laboratory facilities, the engineering faculties as well as the libraries. The variety of extracurricular activities and opportunities on offer were undoubtedly the best I had seen from the universities I was considering and with that I was sold! I knew Leeds University would be a place where I would be offered the very best in education, facilities as well as opportunities.

Tell us about your role in the Leeds Student Women’s Engineering Society (WES)? (Committee)

As the President of the society, my role is to lead and work alongside a dedicated committee, who’s objective is to promote equality and diversity in engineering within the university as well as the city of Leeds through organising social and educational events for the members of the society. These events range from dinners and conferences to educational talks, workshops and outreach activities in schools. My role includes providing the committee with a sense of direction, motivation and goals to fulfil the vision of the society.  

How do you think your experience with WES Leeds will help you in your degree/career?

My experience in working with WES has given me the opportunity to work in a variety of environments that have included professional engineers, engineering students, theatre producers and primary school children. This has not only educated me about how engineering can be used in society in a variety of ways to solve societies problems, but it has also provided me with the skills and confidence to use my engineering knowledge to make a positive influence in my study and work environment.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer to students?

What I have come to love most about the city of Leeds, is that it caters to so many different interests. It offers a wonderful selection of restaurants, exciting activities such as the popular Escape Room as well as a very vibrant night life.

What are your ambitions for the future?

In the future I plan to continue promoting equality and diversity within engineering, more specifically within the oil and gas industry through a continued involvement in organisations such as the Womening in Engineering Society (WES). I also plan to help and inspire students from developing countries such as my own to invest in tertiary education as a way to benefit not only themselves and their families but the growth of the country as well.

What other experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career (e.g project work/year in industry etc.)?

I believe my involvement with other societies will greatly benefit me with my future career. I am the Events Coordinator of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) as well as a member of Engineers without Borders (EWB) which has provided me with the opportunity to attend an engineering summer school in Mexico. These experiences have helped me take engineering outside the university lecture theatres and have allowed me to put into practice the skills I have gained thus far. Other involvements that I believe will benefit me in the workplace are the leadership roles I have accepted within the university. Through being a peer mentor and a course representative I have learned to work alongside students and staff to help improve the manner in which the engineering faculty functions, in a way that is beneficial to all.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in engineering/computer science?

To all women and girls who are considering a career in engineering I would say don’t be afraid to follow your curiosity within engineering and computing. Regardless of societies biases towards these fields, they have a lot more to offer than the masculine ‘’hard hats and overalls’’ image we are accustomed to seeing as representative of work within these industries. These fields are so diverse in their nature and incorporate so many different types of work that they are definitely worth looking into regardless of your gender, ethnicity and background. Your talents, skills and knowledge are very much needed to keep innovating and advancing these industries that are the core of our society.