Zahra Deji-Abiola, Third Year Undergraduate

Zahra Deji-Abiola photoZahra Deji-Abiola is a third-year undergraduate and current Student Welfare Officer in the Department of Chemical Engineering. She also volunteers as the Communications Officer for ChemEng Soc, the student-run Chemical Engineering society.

Zahra chose to study Chemical Engineering because she discovered an interest in how processes work at an industrial level.

“I wanted to go into a subject that involves applying sciences to make the world better, instead of just understanding, yet still learning and discovering more about the natural world.

“Having enjoyed Math, Physics and Chemistry at A Level, I thought that Chemical Engineering would be the best way to do that.

“I also like how varied the field is. From micro channels to massive plants, and so many industries and reactions to learn about.”

Imperial College London appeared on Zahra’s radar whilst she was on work experience, after she watched a lecture on enhanced oil recovery by one of the institution’s academics.

“I really liked the location. I love big cities from growing up in Lagos, so I really wanted to be in London for university. I liked that the course focused on Chemical Engineering specifics from the start instead of being general,” she said.

One of the things Zahra has enjoyed most about the department is the amount of practical work she gets to do.

She said: “We got to enter the Pilot Plant so early on in the course and I can see how everything I’m learning is being applied. I also like how approachable the staff are to all the questions and ideas you have.”

She says her favourite subjects in the course so far have been Process Dynamics and System Control, because she has “a soft spot for loops and thermodynamics”, and Thermodynamics, Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, because she “loves understanding how microscopic properties create macromolecular phenomena and how we can exploit that, and these modules explore that in the most depth.”

Zahra is still deciding what she wants to do once she’s finished her degree.

“I want to apply what I learn in my degree in some way but I'm still open to other sectors,” she said.

She says that empowerment is important to supporting Black students and researchers in academia.

“To me listening and empowering us are essential. And making sure that it is clear that this is a welcoming environment for us to express what makes us unique.”