Black Women in STEM: In Conversation with Actua

Black women have been at the forefront of STEM innovation for decades and have been building paths for a new generation of STEM leaders. From 3D images to home security systems, and helping to make the Apollo 11 mission possible, Black women are behind some world’s most ground-breaking innovations.

As part of Actua’s efforts to celebrate Black History Month, and inspire the next generation of Black leaders and innovators, we’ve developed an interview series to amplify the voices of three prominent Black women leading in STEM fields. Although careers in STEM are among the highest-paid and most in-demand, women remain underrepresented, Black women even more so.

Jennifer Ladipo, National Program Manager at Actua, sat down with Somto Ibe, Anna Ampaw, and Fikayo Usman to discuss their experience navigating STEM fields as a Black woman and their advice for young Black youth. All three women come from different STEM disciplines, including science, engineering and math. Learn more about them down below.

Fikayo Usman

Founder, Fixit Finance

Fikayo is an accomplished accountant with over eight years of experience working in industry and public practice. With the impressive completion of her MBA, CPA stream, she brings invaluable financial expertise to the team.

In addition to her job at Grant Thorton LLP, Fikayo is the founder of Fixit Finance, a platform dedicated to educating young Canadians about personal finance and the importance of financial literacy.

Her advice to the next generation of young leaders: Figure  out what you like. Get a mentor and don’t be afraid to pivot! 


Black Women in STEM: Actua in Coversation with Fikayo Usman

Somto Ibe

Mechanical Engineer at Enbridge and Sustainability Advocate

Somto is a professional engineer in the North American energy industry with progressive experience in natural gas distribution, natural gas storage and renewable power generation. She is currently working as an Engineer at Enbridge – a valued supporter of Actua’s national programs. Somto is passionate about giving back to communities and is involved in supporting a number of causes that promote STEM programs in schools, diversity and inclusion and the advancement of women in the workplace.

Her key advice is: Create a plan, be intentional and remain curious. 

Black Women in STEM: Actua in Conversation with Somto Ibe

Anna Ampaw

Founder, Empowering Fems

Anna Ampaw is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include medicinal chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry, and protein interactions. Anna completed her PhD in 2022 at the University of Ottawa. Anna is also very passionate about teaching and pouring into the next generation of scientists, especially those that belong to a minority group. Anna strives to encourage women of colour to pursue STEM careers and is doing so by publicly advocating for women of colour through social media and other media avenues.

Her Advice? STEM is a creative field. We’re creating. We’re adding to what is already out there. Add your knowledge into the world.

Black Women in STEM: Actua in Coversation with Anna Ampaw