Deborah Danjuma is the overall best graduating student in the history of Landmark University. She graduated from mechanical engineering with a perfect CGPA of 5.0 out of a possible five. She speaks with Edugist on how she achieved this feat and hopes for the future.
Please share with Edugist, a little about yourself and your background
I am Deborah Danjuma, an aspiring robotics engineer and the best graduating student from Landmark University with a record-breaking perfect CGPA on a five-point scale. I am the last child in a family of nine. I teach children and try as much as I can to cater to their welfare. I love learning new things, and experiencing a good change.
What motivated your career choice in mechanical engineering, and how does your academic background align with your goals?
I decided to study mechanical engineering after a career counselling session in my second year in high school. I noticed my high level of creativity and inquisitive nature, and was advised that the best career path to hone these abilities was mechanical engineering. I have always dreamt of creating machines that would understand me and my intentions, follow my commands without so much instruction passed on to them. So, coupled with my creative nature and concepts gained from studying mechanical engineering, I am equipped to achieve that future, even as I keep learning more on the way there.
You graduated with a perfect grade point. How did you manage to achieve this feat?
Graduating with a perfect CGPA was a God-inspired dream. I didn’t plan for it from my first day at the university. I desired it after some acculturation sessions, a programme organised by the registrar of the university at the time, Dr. Azubuike Ezenwoke. I simply surrendered my five-year goals to God, and with His help, I was able to work towards them. I sacrificed time, food, money, events, as was necessary so as to make out study time to achieve my goal. I ensured complete understanding of each of my courses before every exam, and saw each exam as an opportunity to show what I had amassed so far. Although few concepts seemed challenging at some point, I was able to navigate through by trusting God, watching relevant study videos, as well as taking them step by step to fully grasp the hidden meaning in them.
What courses did you find the most challenging?
Overall, there was no course I found too challenging that I had too much difficulty with.
What were your biggest challenges on campus and how did you deal with them?
Maybe one of the biggest challenges I faced on campus was dealing with depression and making relationships. I was able to overcome that by talking to God about it while taking long walks in the evenings, watching K-drama, and consciously putting in effort to understand and relate better with people.
Have you had any internship experience?
I have had three different internship experiences. The first one was at DSV Pipetronix Limited, an oil and gas pipeline servicing company, where I interned at the operations department for a month during the holiday after my third year. The second was in my fourth year, and I worked at the same company, but I interned for about five months, and I was able to gain more understanding of the technical works at the operations department, with more hands-on experience during the time. My third internship experience was for a month, at GlobalShala Education Limited, through Excelerate, where I worked remotely as a project manager intern. I took on this role as I wanted to gain more understanding and skill in project management for a job role I had earlier applied for.
Have you been a recipient of any scholarship award?
Concerning scholarships, I was awarded twice. The first was the 2019/2020 NNPC SPDC JV University Scholarship award, and the second was 2021 NNPC/TOTAL National Merit Scholarship. However, I only received the grant from the NNPC/TOTAL National Merit Scholarship after the first payment because no student is to receive remuneration from two scholarships in the oil and gas sector.
In your opinion, what are the challenges currently facing the engineering profession in Nigeria?
I think some challenges facing the engineering sector in Nigeria are corruption, lack of needed funding, and a poor maintenance culture. From my observation, these challenges are highly detrimental, and should be addressed rightly if the sector is to improve.
Share your thoughts about the culture of excellence, or the lack thereof among Nigerian graduates
Unfortunately, the culture of excellence is lower than that of mediocrity among Nigerian graduates. On the bright side, it is only lower by a small margin, as I have observed. There are more graduates who are willing to work and be excellent in their chosen fields than the preceding sets over the years. I think this is a good improvement and a source of great hope. The only problem I find is that, quite a number of graduates choose to major in a field different from their course of study at the university. I think it might be because students are not rightly guided, and made fully aware of their options before they make their choice of study at the university; or that they are forced to study a course of study different from their desired course. This makes them waste years and funds doing something different and getting a degree that is not needed.
Could you describe your final-year project?
In my final year, I worked with a team (of two others), which I headed, to develop a domestic bean-processing machine. The machine is to peel off the skin, separate, blend, and properly mix the paste so that it can be used immediately for meals like akara, gbegiri, moin-moin, and the likes. The aim of the machine is to highly reduce the time spent in the preparation of these foods, as well as eliminate the drudgery associated with it. It works with an electric motor with a low power requirement, which reduces electricity consumption in homes where it would be used.
Have you demonstrated leadership or mentoring skills during your academic journey?
I have had the opportunity to serve in various positions whilst an undergraduate at Landmark University. A notable one was when I served as the Academic Director of the Landmark University Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Students Association (LUMMESA). In that position, I worked with the other members of the Association to host a quiz competition, with the aim of learning while having fun. The quiz was based on the idea that learning should be viewed as an interesting thing to do, and the mission of the quiz was to make the students have a fun approach to learning, without seeing it as a burden. Through the quiz, we all learnt together, and the interest of the students was sparked by logical reasoning and technology. I also advised students, helping them with their studies in areas where necessary as I could while serving in that position.
What areas of mechanical engineering interest you the most?
The reason I decided to study Mechanical Engineering was for the design sector. I have always loved to create and invent new things. I decided, after adequate guidance, to explore the Applied Mechanics and Design option. I was able to understand how tools and machines are designed and tested, and got involved in their production. This is a very solid background for my next area of study, robotics engineering.
How do you stay updated with the latest mechanical engineering advancements and technologies?
To stay updated with the latest trends in mechanical engineering, I use resources like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, where I follow accounts that deliver the latest news and information in the engineering and technology sector. I also gain knowledge from LinkedIn, where I can read posts and articles on the latest trends in various sectors. I also research my findings on these platforms using Google, ChatGPT, and read up relevant articles on various websites that provide them.
What are your long-term career goals, and how do you envision your skills and knowledge evolving in the future?
In the long run, I envision myself contributing to the world as a robotics engineer. I see a career which would be aimed at providing innovative engineering solutions to problems in areas that lack the resources to finance it. With donations and investments, I dream of providing better living to people who do not have access to high level technology at an affordable price. I seek to explore robotics in line with machine learning and artificial intelligence to create a more efficient, comfortable, and sustainable world.