Dr Ozak Esu is a multi-award-winning professional electronic and electrical engineer and STEM advocate from Nigeria.
In 2011, aged 20, she graduated with a First Class Honours in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Loughborough University, where she was also awarded a scholarship to take her PhD in Advanced Signal Processing and Wind Energy, which she completed in 2016. Her personal and professional love of sustainable technology has led her to be the video host of Climate Now, a content channel that looks at the science behind climate change and how we can help fix it.
Dr Ozak Esu is particularly interested in why women and ethnic minorities have trouble gaining professions in the STEM industry. “I strongly believe in the Venn diagram analogy that engineering is the intersection between scientific knowledge and societal need. There’s no gender discrimination in that definition so don’t exclude yourself from contributing, or deprive us of your skills, talent, knowledge and ideas to solve problems.”
She worked for Cundall in Birmingham, designing the electrical services for buildings, before moving to the BRE Centre for Smart Homes and Buildings as their technical lead.
“Developing a new method, improving an existing engineering method, mastering a new software, technique, opportunities to travel for work, and successfully managing a project from concept design to construction excite me.”
Dr Ozak Esu completed her A-Levels in mathematics, physics and geography in school in Lagos, Nigeria. It was here that she became interested in engineering; “The frequent power cuts which I experienced that made me decide to take a keen interest in physics.”
Once settled in the UK, she went on to study at Loughborough University, receiving a £54,000 scholarship for her postgraduate study, focussing on wind turbine blades. Her PhD demonstrated the opportunities for instrumenting low-cost sensors in consumer electronics. Her findings were published in scientific journals such as Renewable Energy, System and REWE. She also presented her findings at international conferences across Europe and the US; in 2013 she presented it at the Harnessing the Energy-Women’s Engineering Society Conference.
Whilst studying, she began working at multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy company Cundall, where she led the appraisal of existing electrical infrastructure, as well as the design, construction and installation of new electrical building services on a national and international level. She was also part of the team for the Energy Systems Catapult office in Birmingham, which was awarded the prestigious British Council for Offices ‘Fit Out of Workplace’ Midlands Regional Award in 2017.
In 2019, she joined the Building Research Establishment as their technical lead in smart buildings, tasked with researching challenges relating to the Internet of Things (IoT) within the UK construction industry. She then moved to Switzerland where she works as the Technical Project Manager at Hilti Group, leading innovation at their Corporate Research and Technology Centre, particularly looking at fastening and application technology.
She also serves as a guest lecturer at the Universities of Bath, Lincoln, Loughborough and London South Bank. She is also an advisor for ClimateNow’s website and podcast, helping to explain the key scientific ideas, technologies and policies relevant to the global climate crisis.
Ozak is passionate about STEM outreach and volunteering initiatives that promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the industry. She also seeks to empower women and minority ethnic groups working in the STEM industry. This includes tutoring, mentoring and creating content for lectures, as well as delivering public speeches at events such as The Alan Turing Institute Gamechangers for STEM and The Better Future Tour in partnership with Shall UK; judging STEM competitions, and sitting on live panels at events like Tomorrow’s Engineers Big Assembly, the Norwich Science Festival, The Big Bang Fair and the FIRST LEGO League.
See Dr Ozak Esu at The Alan Turing Institute below talking about Championing equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM:
She was named one of the Women’s Engineering Society’s ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35’ list in 2017 along with The Telegraph’s ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35’ list. She won the Generation for Change (G4C) Constructing Excellence Midlands ‘Young Professional of the Year’ and ‘The David Bucknall Rising Star’ awards in 2017.
She was also the recipient of two prestigious awards from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET); the IET Mike Sargeant Career Achievement Medal and the 2017 IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year award.
Ozak has extensive media and public engagement experience gained from her ambassadorial role promoting the IET and engineering through radio and TV interviews and by engaging with pupils, students, parents, teachers, organisations and members of parliament.
A lot of Ozak’s time is spent working alongside initiatives aiming to empower women and minority ethnic groups to study and work in STEM-related disciplines. These include serving in roles as being a panellist for the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK), research student contributor to Loughborough University’s Athena SWAN Award Committee investigating barriers preventing female students from progressing on to roles in academia, and mentor at The Visiola Foundation in Nigeria. She also talks about her academic and professional experiences to students in schools and universities, promoting STEM careers. She has been involved with a number of campaigns over the years including Careers in STEM, Portrait of an Engineer and HM Government Year of Engineering 2018.
In 2018 she was profiled in The Daily Mail as ‘The Doctor Engineering Real Chance’. She has also featured and published in Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan Magazine (The IET’s Portrait of an Engineer), The Guardian Life Nigeria, Levers in Heels, Mail and Guardian.