This Antiguan national did it all and graduated with two engineering degrees
Features > The Caribbean
By STEM Caribbean | Posted on January 29, 2019
Caribbean students, both within the region and the diaspora, are continuously making strides in their academic endeavors. One such Caribbean national is Thea Davis, who graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering. She also attended graduate school and obtained a Master of Chemical Engineering.
Thea hails from Cassada Gardens in the beautiful island of Antigua. As a young girl she aced in the STEM subject areas, particularly Mathematics and Chemistry, and decided to take her love further by pursuing a career in Chemical Engineering. After weighing her options between studying in the Caribbean or abroad, Thea decided to attend the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, United States, as this school offered her significant financial assistance. IIT was an excellent choice for Thea with a robust engineering department. IIT also allowed her the opportunity to meet new friends from across the globe and experience new cultures.
During her time at IIT, Thea was incredibly active in numerous clubs, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and Caribbean Visionaries. Although she stayed focused on her studies, she also made the time to participate in club activities and socialize with her peers.
In the summer of 2017, Thea interned at the West Indies Oil Company in Antigua. This opportunity provided her with an amazing experience. “Every day was different,” she says, as on an atypical day her role ranged from visiting various company sites throughout the island to assisting other engineers with projects. Her other tasks included monitoring the progress of contractors working on various projects and working on projects of her own. The internship kept her busy while giving her invaluable work experience and allowing her to network with experts in her field. She thoroughly enjoyed her time at the company and, if given the opportunity, will be elated to work with them in the future.
Thea is an excellent role model for young, aspiring STEM students in the Caribbean and has great words of wisdom for those who are considering a career in STEM.
“I’d strongly encourage anyone to pursue a STEM degree,” she says. “There are lots of opportunities available in those fields. STEM degrees tend to be versatile and can serve as a foundation for an even wider range of careers.”
Thea also provides words of encouragement for those who may think the task is daunting, as she has once been in those shoes and knows the difficulties that come with extensive studying. “Don’t be discouraged if you think the coursework will be difficult,” Thea says. “There are many resources available to make the college experience manageable.”