Chiamaka Onyinyechukwu Ofojimba | Nigeria
Chiamaka Onyinyechukwu Ofojimba is a first-class honours graduate of BSc in Microbiology, who graduated third in her class. She also has a Masters Degree in Biotechnology and is passionate and committed to the world of science and scientific breakthroughs to improve the life quality of patients in her home country, Nigeria.
1. What made UCD stand out as the place you wanted to pursue your studies?
I mean, what didn’t? The portfolio of UCD is so impressive and well-known, but there were a few things in particular that stood out to me.
Firstly UCD’s academic reputation being consistently ranked as one of the top universities in Ireland and the world was definitely very appealing to me. As a budding healthcare enthusiast, a university that is research focused with state-of-the-art research laboratories was also key for me.
The campus was also an absolute lure – as an international student, I wanted the university I selected to feel different from those in my home country, the UCD campus surpassed that expectation! Gosh! UCD is in a beautiful setting on the outskirts of the city with breathtaking woodland walks, sculptures, well-designed buildings, lakes and so many green spaces.
The university’s international perspective was another winner for me. It can get lonely as an international student, but when I saw that UCD has a student body from over 130 countries, I was once again excited about this choice.
Finally career development sold me: UCD has a strong focus on career development, with numerous programs and resources designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen fields. It is not a shocker to see why UCD is ranked number one for graduate employability.
2. What was your UCD experience like – the social scene, classes, and lecturers?
I resumed the academic year during the pandemic and so everything was online for some time. During that period, it wasn’t much of a hassle to understand in class because the lecturers were professional and empathetic; every class was an experience, from presentations to quizzes to little jokes.
When things started opening back up, I was on campus every other week because I needed to soak in all that I had missed in the previous semesters. It was lovely meeting some of my coursemates and being back in classrooms (even though lectures were not held there at the time).
One thing I always looked forward to during examination periods was the examination relief materials provided by the student body; it was such a thoughtful gesture. Yes, I studied during the pandemic, but I still got a taste of what it means to be a UCD student!
3. You were a recipient of a Global Excellence Scholarship to study at UCD?
I am so honoured and grateful to God for having been selected. I remember vividly the day I got the mail in my room. I was so tense about the outcome but once I saw I was 100% selected, I felt a rushing wind of joy! It was a significant milestone and a source of pride and motivation for me and my family.
4. What is your fondest memory from your time living in Ireland?
I had such a beautiful time. Stunning landscapes, hiking, exploring historic areas like Dublin Castle, interacting with the friendly locals, visiting other counties (like Cork and Galway), getting on a cruise boat, enjoying the taste of different foods, attending cultural festivals, visiting the Titanic Museum, basking in the beautiful decorations of Dublin city centre during the Christmas period, being in church. I can go on and on but these are the memories that are top of my mind when I get to speak about Ireland.
5. You are now working in the UCD Global Office based in Nigeria – how are you enjoying this job?
What are the odds, right? I enjoy sharing my experience because it is not just random facts on the internet, this is what I lived and walked! I have seen that students connect with me more, and are keen to listen to what I say, once I tell them I am an alumna of UCD. That is always the icing on the cake, and I can see the joy on their faces when they go “oh you studied there”? I love what I do.
6. You travel quite a bit around Africa with your job – what new places have you been to, and which have been your favourite countries?
So far I have been to Uganda and Kenya, and I’m looking forward to exploring more. My favourite country right now is Kenya, the city of Mombasa to be precise.
7. You have a podcast – was it hard to get started? Any tips for budding podcasters?
Hey, I could use some tips as well, LOL. It was hard for me to start because I am sometimes a perfectionist, but having the right people around me pushed me to just start and grow with it. When I started, I did not have a mic. I used my brother’s headphones and my phone to record and then I would edit the audio and add the background sounds using my phone. Today, I have a mic and a producer that edits and ensures the sound is great; all I must do is show up to record and upload the file. My advice for budding podcasters is this – you have probably heard it so many times but here I go again – “Define your niche and start. Start where you are, and grow with your podcast. Treat it as a newborn baby and experience every moment, and right before your eyes you will see and appreciate the growth”.
8. When you are not working/podcasting what do you do to relax?
Honestly? I sleep! I watch movies, visit new places with my loved ones or read a book, but mostly I sleep.
9. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Your life is an accumulation of your daily habits. Make every day count.
10. What are you currently reading?
My favourite books right now are ‘The Fishermen’ by Chigozie Obioma, ‘Crazy Faith’ by Pastor Mike Todd and ‘Bamboozled by Jesus’ by Yvonne Orji.
11. Describe yourself in three words.
Godly, creative, and very smart!
You can follow Chiamaka on the following socials.
Instagram: Chiamaka_Ofojimba (https://www.instagram.com/chiamaka_ofojimba/ )
Podcast Name: ‘I Say What I Want’ https://linktr.ee/_iswiw (Available everywhere)
LinkedIn: Chiamaka Ofojimba (https://www.linkedin.com/in/chiamaka-ofojimba/ )