Interview : Ufoma Umolo, EnvIM - option Europe (2015)

Ufoma in Rotterdam


Can you present yourself?

My name is Ufoma. I have a BSc in geography from the University of Nigeria and an MSc in environmental management from the University of Nottingham through a Developing Solution Scholarship for Africa. Currently studying EnvIM - Option Europe from the prestigious MINES ParisTech through a Niger Delta Development Commission Scholarship at a post-master level.

I have various work experience, from Senior Executive Assistant in Zenith Bank to Customer Care Executive in Etisalat Emerging Market Telecommunication Servicesn (Nigeria), and Operations operative in Boots (UK). I am currently interning for UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Chemicals Branch in Geneva (Switzerland).

Outside academics and work, I like spending time with friends and travelling.

What is your professional goal?

Bridging science with practice and policy in the environmental domain is my main professional focus.

Environmental problems present themselves in very practical terms. From pollution, erosion, flooding, desertification, to climate change. My professional goal is to bridge science with practice and policy in the environmental domain to proffer practical-oriented solution to these endemic environmental issues.


Why did you chose the EnvIM Europe post-master's program?

I chose the EnvIM - Option Europe post-master’s program for two reasons. First, because of its topical content and its unconventional way of teaching, which are different from the traditional academic settings. The program is rich in case studies and presentations that allow you to think outside the box with a lot of fieldtrips to spice it all. In addition, I chose the EnvIM - option Europe program to garner international experience in my chosen discipline through an internship programme.

What did you learn and how does this help your professional goal ?

Quite a lot! I have been exposed to a first class learning, touching on a wide range of environmental issues from industrial experts and renowned professors : climate change, carbon footprint, LCA, industrial ecology, large dams, impact assessment... I even developed a personal project in renewable energy during a complete month. I am convinced that those exposures and the resultant new skills-set acquired will help me to achieve my long term professional goal. I intend to strengthen knowledge and capacity building in emerging and developing economies in the area of sustainable environmental management.


What did you like the most during your studies here?

I loved the international fieldtrip to Rotterdam. Besides being a practical way of learning, it was a lot of fun as it gave me opportunity to relax, to network and to learn as well as relate with people of different cultures. The vivid memories of the photographic museum, the traditional windmills (Kinderijk), the port of Rotterdam, the aqualiner,  the city tours and the boat cruise are some of the exciting moments that cannot be forgotten!


Can you present us your professional thesis?

As mentioned earlier, I am interning for the UNEP Chemicals branch of the Division of   Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE), particularly focusing on metals, specifically on mercury. At work, not two days are identical. In general my tasks include: conducting scientific research, undertaking project design and follow-up, involving in project review and assisting in the preparation of reports and presentations. I am currently working with a team on a project to launch the ‘Practical Sourcebook on mercury waste storage and disposal’. This sourcebook is an informative tool that aims to enhance the capacity of governments and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the environmentally sound storage and disposal of the major types of mercury wastes. And the objective of my professional mission follows from this. I will be carrying out a feasibility study on mercury waste, storage and disposal.