Gabriella Effah-Wiafe, 2nd year (Civil Engineering) – Faculty of Engineering
Gabriella_Effah-Wiafe - headshot

Gabriella Effah-Wiafe, 2nd year (Civil Engineering)

Black History Month Spotlight

Civil Engineering

A second-year Civil Engineering and Management and the Communications Chair for National Society of Black Engineers – McMaster chapter, Gabriella shares her thoughts on Black History in this spotlight Q&A.

What advice would you share for Black engineering students, or future ones? 

Future advice: Do not be afraid to put yourself out there! Everyone is capable of achieving great things, you should be proud to showcase yourself to others. Many people, myself included, may even get feelings around imposter syndrome, never forget that you are here for a reason; take up space! Take advantage of any and all opportunities that may present themselves to you and show the world who you are!

Why should people care about Black History Month?

People should care about Black History Month because it is a vital time for reflecting on the many black pioneers who have paved the way for future generations to thrive as we are today. Black History Month is a time for growth and prosperity, so that we may show the world what it means to be a Black individual and create more opportunities for future Black leaders to flourish. It is a time to come together and look at all the contributions Black people have made in the world and how we have changed the world for the better. Throughout the year, we are so busy trying to get through schoolwork, endless studying, and juggling extracurriculars that it becomes overwhelming; Black History Month gives us the opportunity to sit back and realize why we are doing what we are doing and think about those who helped us here. 

Who is a Black figure in history that means the most to you and why? 

Katherine Johnson was a mathematician who worked for NASA. She was the first Black woman in STEM I saw in the media; she made me think that I could also do it and make a name for myself in the engineering world. Despite challenges, there is always a way out and a way to thrive that will prove people wrong.

What is an historical moment in Black history that means the most to you and why? 

The Harlem Renaissance was a resurgence of African American culture, art, and movements in the 1920s and 1930s. This was the beginning of the exposure and expansion of black history for everyone to see. This movement allowed Black people to express themselves freely for the first time. This is important to me because now, in 2023, we are still expressing our culture and roots for the whole world to see. It is even more imperative at this time because, with the use of technology, we can spread African American culture much faster and to a broader scope of people.

What do you love most about being part of the Fireball Family? 

Being part of the fireball community is being part of a community with like-minded individuals who have goals that reach far beyond our imaginations. There is a connection between all engineering students that draws us close and gives us the motivation to be the best person that we can be with the support of students, faculty, and staff.  This is a community that accepts everyone no matter the circumstances and looks out for the well-being of others with the end aim of working towards something great!