She is the first, ever!
Q & A On Sep 5, 2020
Meet Lidya Mussie, the first female student to ever graduate with great distinction from the Engineering College at Eritrean Institute of Technology (EIT). Having the vision of becoming influential when she was young, this young engineer talks about how her educational journey has led her to achieve her goal. She joined EIT having scored a full Grade Point Average of 4 in her school leaving certificate exam, and she continued to get the highest scores at her department for the rest of her college l. She is now working at the Eritrean Electricity Corporation (EEC) and plans to continue her studies. Here is a translation of an interview she conducted with Age’zo magazine.
Liya’s Success & Motivation
“I honestly believe that the secret of my success comes from God. Although all good things come from hard work and persistence, prudence comes naturally.
Besides all of that, I come from a family that takes education seriously which made me follow their path. Also, the people who I met along my way (teachers and fellow students) influenced me greatly in my educational life. All in all, I can confidently say that all the things I just mentioned played a great role in my success.
I don’t think I could have done it alone. Especially when I was younger, I don’t think that I truly understood the benefits of education. It was by the time I was in secondary school and college that I started to really get the significance of it and that I managed my time well and gave my studies priority.
Growing up, I wanted to be many things. I actually didn’t have a clear vision of what I really wanted to become. I sometimes wanted to be a teacher and sometimes a pilot. Generally speaking, I wanted to become someone influential. Thinking about it at this moment, though, there are a lot of things that I need to achieve. I believe that I got my dream. I remember that I used to be very attentive and active in class and I was very happy when I found out that I got a full score at the National Matriculation Exam.”
Sawa, a place to know and shape yourself!
“Sawa is a place where I got to know myself better. Luckily, I got a chance to learn with some of the most brilliant teachers and students in Sawa. Though everyone gets home sick, it is a small price to pay to reach your goal. Which is why, being homesick didn’t bother me much. I was a peer educator, and took part in debating and general knowledge competitions. I didn’t have much free time there, so I was always cautious about using my time right. As a result I finished my 12th grade education with a 1st rank prize of the Warsay Yikalo School.
Military training was a time that I enjoyed with hundreds of students. Everything you do in Sawa you do together, and that has taught me a great deal in life. Sawa brought those individuals for me and living for about a year with them enabled me to have strong friendship, especially with those who went to college with me. After Sawa, I joined EIT and studied engineering. I started my studies with confidence since I had a good GPA to begin with; I was also able to finish my first year with a full score.”
Going for Electrical and Electronics Engineering
“During my second year in college, I joined the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
The reason I chose the department was that I had always had the dream of getting into engineering. As I expected I found the department to be very interesting and related to our daily life activities. I was getting happier and satisfied by my choice as I got to know a little deeper about the subject. Enjoying my studies throughout my stay in college indeed made my life easier, and I was able to finish my college studies with full scores during the 1st semester of the 5th year.
Unfortunately, during the 2nd semester of my 5th year, I got a “B” in one subject, which I couldn’t accept for quite some time. However, later on I understood that getting that score gave a lot of meaning to my life. With everything that I put in my educational journey, with a GPA of 3.98, I became the first female engineer to ever graduate with high distinction in the engineering department.”
Liya’s thoughts on Challenges during studies & why there are few girls in the engineering department
“I don’t think that we encountered many challenges before getting to college as the studies aren’t that hard. However, getting to higher education requires working much harder for the students and teachers alike. So, yes, there were some challenges that we faced in college due to unqualified teachers but nothing bigger than that. Also, we don’t have many female students joining the engineering department.
There are specific departments where female students think that they can’t do well in. But female students are brilliant and they can do whatever they put their minds to. I think it is their state of mind that is limiting them from getting into the departments, which I say is totally wrong.
Having the confidence to know themselves, what they want to do and want they want to become is the first step toward success. For instance, only three girls graduated in my department, which means 5% of the students. So, I hope that the numbers would rise in the future.”
Getting to the actual job of engineering
“After graduating, I was assigned to work at the Eritrean Electricity Corporation (EEC). Working there presented me with an opportunity to work practically what I knew theoretically.
I feel that working at the corporation is a continuation of my college studies. While working there, I was able to participate in many projects. One of the best projects I have been part of was the Areza and Maidema solar project. When I look at it now, working at the EEC has enabled me to decide what my next educational plan is.
In the future I am planning to study Renewable Energy and it is my greatest dream to serve my country and community with my knowledge.”