Chanda, first graduate at CBU with distinction in mechatronics engineering

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UNLIKE most students who get admitted to the University with brilliant results from Secondary School, then fail to maintain grades in their next level, Chileshe Chanda has maintained her exploits to become the first Zambian student to graduate as a mechatronics engineer with distinctions at the Copperbelt University.

Chanda, 25 has joined a league of females that are changing the narrative and dominating in fields which were more associated with the male folk.

If the phrase “beauty with brains” can be a chorus, Chanda would be the song title.

She told Kalemba that she used her desire for engineering to prove that women can also make it.

Being the first child in a family of four all eyes were on Cecilia to pave the way and become a good example for her siblings to follow.

Chanda earned herself a place under the school of natural sciences at the Copperbelt University (CBU) after passing her final second school exams with six points.

Her passion for engineering can be phrased as a childhood dream as it can be traced to as far as when she was in her eighth grade.

“My passion for engineering came when I was in grade eight. We had people who came to sensitize us on civil engineering. I fell in love with it such that when I completed school I started working as a part time Civil engineer without papers,” she explained.

Chanda revealed that her journey to this achievement wasn’t all glittery as it came with a lot of reasons that could have influenced her to give up.

“I faced a lot of challenges, especially during my first year because when I was accepted at CBU my dad was not in employment and it was difficult for me financially,” she said.

“The other challenge I faced was that when I went back home after our school was closed, I used to trek from home to the Solwezi town library because we never had electricity at home by then but I needed good points to make it.”

Both the pressure to catch up with bulk school work and financial challenges were too much on Chanda but her goal still stood above them.

She mentioned that being a female who is full of emotions was never an excuse for not working hard.

Chanda disclosed that the environment pushed her to study even more than the male students in order to level up with the required standards.

She also encouraged young women to look beyond their gender and pursue their dreams.

“Gender should not be a discrimination for you not to reach greater heights. As young girls, we sometimes want to catch up with what’s trending. But those things should be avoided and put your mind to your dreams, she advised.

By Catherine Pule

Kalemba, March 18, 2024

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