She had her first and second degrees in Nigeria. She then moved to the US where she got her PhD. Reflecting on her academic career trajectory, she had all the course to praise her beginning in Nigeria which equipped her with the strength it took her to her to complete her PhD. Read the excerpts from her interview with AC…
AC: Congratulations on your attainment of PhD. Could you please tell us about yourself?
PK: Growing up I knew I had a rare combination of subjects. I wanted to become an engineer like my dad, but I chose architecture when I had difficulty with understanding Chemistry. I realized that I had a tendency towards technical drawing, further mathematics, and geography which overlapped with the field of architecture. I realized I have a knack for architecture and a love for buildings. I got into Rivers State University of Science and Technology at the age of 16 to study Architecture and emerged the best graduating student during my undergraduate studies and this motivated me to higher education. I also have a Master of Science degree and now a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Architecture. I got married in 2010 to Adaiyibo Kio and we have two lovely girls.
AC: Your supervisor rained encomiums on you in his Linkedin post. This is a pointer to the kind of supervisor-supervisee relationship you had while on the programme. What would you say when we ask you how was the journey?
PK:My advisor, Dr. Ahmed K. Ali, introduced me to the field of circular economy. Finding out about Ellen Macarthur was pivotal to my research topic. Dr. Ali trained me and helped me to grow in the areas of research, study materials and collaboration. He also treated my contributions with appreciation, supporting me when things did not go as expected. He guided and encouraged me through the regulations and requirements for research. I learnt about methodology, and how to be sensitive to my schedule and Ph. D. activities. We had weekly meetings, due to these meetings I added to my work and corrected things based on our discussions. I look forward to more mentorship and future partnership with Dr. Ali.
AC: From Rivers State University of Science and Technology to A&M Texas University. Could you tell us the story behind your journey?
PK: Rivers State University of Science and Technology which is currently named Rivers State University provided a solid foundation for me. I obtained my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Architecture there. I was trained at Studio Three Associates by Arc. Geoffrey Orji during holidays and internship. I also had the privilege of tutelage under Arc. Tetenta Tata and Arc. Tam Dikibo, both in Port Harcourt. Furthermore, I got my professional licensure from the Nigerian Institute of Architects in 2014. Texas A&M University (TAMU) provides some of the best engineering education in the world and my husband had the dream of studying at TAMU. He went there and so did I. I got admitted to TAMU in 2017. The educational experience here has been very illuminating, but I am grateful for the beginnings in Nigeria, as the resilience I acquired helped me deal with the demands of TAMU.
AC: Please, tell us about the focus of your PhD thesis.
PK:My Ph.D thesis investigated the potentials of designing for sustainability, specifically “designing for reuse” using a systematic by-product of industrial production processes, in a mutual exchange known as industrial symbiosis (IS) for a more circular economy (CE). CE seeks to change traditional methods of take, make, waste to eliminate the concept of waste after consumers use goods. The study focused on fostering CE through IS between the automotive and the building and construction industries through creative architectural reuse. Previous attempts at IS between both industries have involved reusing materials such as end-of-life metal, tires and plastics but none had explored the reuse of prompt sheet metal cutouts (Offal) from automotive assembly processes.
A workflow of three parts was presented in a manuscript-style dissertation. The first manuscript presented “design for reuse” modules made from Offal. Experimental studies were conducted for four unique geometries to determine their cooling effect in two seasons and resource efficiency. The second manuscript presented a novel modular living wall system (MLWS) made with a module from Manuscript 1. Experimental data from measurement campaigns during four seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall) were used to calibrate 24-hour simulations of thermal performance in ENVI-met. Life cycle analyses (LCA) were also used to determine economic and environmental impacts. The third manuscript presented a techno-economic analysis comparing the novel MLWS to traditional living wall systems (LWS). Analysis of the novel MLWS was carried out through LCA providing impacts for parameters such as fuel consumption, electricity, net primary energy, and product costs.
AC: It is a common saying that it takes a whole village to raise a child. In your own case how many did it take to make your PhD achievable?
PK: The village that raised me is quite large and I will describe it in terms of groups. First my family, then friends, study groups, prayer teams and workout partners.
AC: Between the Nigerian and the American university system what were the differences and similarities you noticed?
PK: The most immediately noticeable difference in American schools is how training and instruction in all disciplines are at the cutting edge of what is known at the time. American education is quite intentional about training students for further research and industry practice. The universities care about whether their students get jobs or move on to further studies. That is a pragmatism that the Nigerian educational system could use. Academic resources such as libraries, modern laboratories, and the ability to access current research are provided. There is also a flexibility in terms of picking courses one wants to take, which does not exist in the Nigerian system, that can make for a very interesting educational experience.
The obvious similarity is the hard work that needs to be put in. Wherever one studies, one needs to work hard to achieve one’s objectives.
AC: Thank you for your time.
PK: You are welcome. Thank you for having me.