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Ayiya Bikimi

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It’s often debated whether resilience is something a person is born with or can obtain throughout their life, and while maybe that specific question can’t be answered, Ayiya Bikimi, UCOL’s newest Chemistry Lecturer, can shed some light on its importance.

Originally from Nigeria, Ayiya knew early on that Chemistry was something he wanted to make a career in.

"It's a subject that is all around us, from a single strain of hair to the tip of our toes.  I had a lot of questions growing up and I knew that studying chemistry would help me to answer those."

"Studying in Nigeria was tough, I was challenged when I studied at university.  It was not easy trying to find additional knowledge so we had to work extra hard.  Perseverance and resilience is everything.  I completed my first degree in 2006 at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University."

After completing his degree in Industrial Chemistry in Nigeria, Ayiya went on to study Petroleum Technology at Teesside University in Middleborough, North East of England. 

"After my masters, I returned home to work in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria for three years before joining the services of Kaduna State University as an Assistant Lecturer in the department of Industrial chemistry.  I taught there for two years in applied chemistry."

After completing his masters with First Class Distinction, Ayiya was still ready and willing to grow his knowledge in his field.

"I chose to come to New Zealand to complete my PhD at the University of Auckland as I felt it was one of the best places to do what I wanted to do, and because New Zealand values international students."

In April this year, Ayiya submitted his PhD; Designing new catalyst systems based on pyridine-derived ligands and gained a job as a lecturer here at UCOL's Manawatū Campus.

"I knew this would be a good job for me because as well as having theory on my side, I also have a lot of industry experience which is important for a place like UCOL which focusses on getting students industry ready."

Ayiya credits his success so far to the hard working ethic and resilience he developed while studying in Nigeria.  When asked what Ayiya's advice would be to current diploma students and future students of the Bachelor of Applied Science at UCOL, his answer is encouraging;

"There's nothing you do that doesn't have chemistry involved in it.  If you understand the concepts of chemistry, you have no limits to the things you can achieve.  Never allow things that you think will set you back, to pull you back from achieveing and obtaining your dreams."

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