Meet Ms. Imanirakiza Sylvia , one of the star students at CEDAT

My name is Imanirakiza Sylvia, a 23-year-old Christian and highly ambitious lady. I have completed a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, receiving first-class honours (4.77/5.0) and ranking top in my class.

I studied my primary education at Silver Spoon Primary School, Kibuli, where I was always one of the top performers. In Primary Six, I asked if I could sit for the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), and I did so at Katarara Primary School in Cyanika, Kisoro district. I performed well, scoring 10 aggregates, and went on to Seeta High School Mbalala for my O’Levels. During my O’Levels, I excelled in sciences, especially chemistry, and also enjoyed Literature, where I got to act in a play. I completed my Levels with 11 in 8 aggregates. I then went on to study at Uganda Martyrs Secondary School Namugongo(UMSSN) where I took the PCM combination, which was greatly attributed to my love for these three subjects. My time at UMSSN was one of the hardest and best times in school. However, one thing I always appreciate was the level of expertise and supportiveness from the teachers. One scenario I always remember is when I was in my form six approaching UNEB, I had actually given up on general paper. This was because it was a bit more humanity-related, and I had just ignorantly decided all that was way too hard for me. However, my GP teacher then reached out to me with very candid advice and guided me on the best way to approach this subject that felt so abstract to me. He said, “I don’t want you to fail to get 20 points because of GP. I believe in you”. Those words truly motivated me to put in a little effort. Lo and behold, I completed my UACE with 20 points, emerging among the top students in the country. I was awarded the Government Merit Scholarship to pursue my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering.

Pursuing a BSc. In Electrical Engineering has been a great and challenging experience. I appreciate the opportunity to understand how different abstract concepts, ranging from electric circuits to EM waves and signals, are brought together to develop the technology that humanity relies on heavily, for example, the electric grid. Through this program, I have had the great honour of interacting and learning with my fellow brilliant course mates. My undergraduate experience has encompassed participating in innovation competitions and hackathons, trying to address challenges in society, from easing air travel to healthcare. Furthermore, I have also served as an advisor to the Makerere Engineering Society, which enabled me to serve the engineering student body. Additionally, I have had the great opportunity to be a research assistant at the Marconi Research and Innovations Laboratory.

These diverse experiences have enabled me to improve my technical and soft skills. I greatly appreciate the School of Engineering, particularly my lecturers and all the staff, for their direct and indirect support over the course of this degree. I especially thank my parents for always believing in me and pushing me to go towards my ambitions. As I look to the future, I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and I hope to make a difference in the field of engineering. One of my favourite quotes is “Acknowledge logic but turn up the volume to the voice that believes in you” by Tunde Oyeneyin. I encourage young women in STEM to stay ambitious and chase their goals despite the stereotypes. Let us support each other through mentoring and advising, lifting each other up so we can rise together.

Overall, my education journey has taught me the value of hard work, perseverance, and the importance of a supportive community.