Month: October 2020

Alumni Spotlight: Interview with Alexis Abayomi

An image of Alexis AbayomiAlexis Abayomi is an alumna of the Department, who studied MEng Materials Science and Engineering. Alexis graduated in 2017 and is currently a Data Analyst at EY and founder of start-up UCYCLESYNC.

In her free time, Alexis loves cycling around the river and parks in London and visiting different parts of the city. She also builds and program legos and enjoys travelling to and exploring different countries.

I wanted to study Materials because I like to understand why materials behave the way they do and how to change the properties of materials. This interest was sparked from my love of physics during A-level, especially solid-state physics. Plus, I enjoyed physical chemistry. I initially applied to study Chemistry, but I had a conversation with my Physics teacher, and she introduced me to Materials. I wrote to the Materials department and asked to move my application from Chemistry to Materials, and they said yes.

My best moments at Imperial included having much fun with netball, the African and Caribbean society and my course mates in G10. Afrogala 2014: it took a lot of my time, but I got to meet some amazing people and model dance. It was completely out of my comfort zone, and I’m glad I did it. Also, Varsity in 3rd and 4th year because the 3s beat the medics, and the last song with the netball ladies in metric was always a highlight!

However, there were challenges. I struggled to balance studying, working, netball and ACS. Finances were so difficult. I wasn’t able to get a maintenance loan, and I didn’t feel supported when Imperial withheld a grant because of my immigration status. I am so glad to have had an amazing personal tutor. Professor Vandeperre listened to me but said: “let’s figure how you can afford to stay for your masters.” I have no words to describe how much I appreciated having someone help me. He is the best. 

My advice for students from the Black community wishing to study STEM subjects is: go for it! Pick whatever you want to do. It might be lonely sometimes walking the corridor and not seeing anyone that looks like you. Simple questions like “where do I get my hair done?” or “where can I get plantain?” become big issues, but you will find your people and explore London to get these answers.