Growing up in Luanda, Angola, Dina was always fascinated by the Luanda Refinery’s distillation towers and intrigued by what went on there. When she was finishing high school, her cousin showed her an advert for an energy company that was looking to train technicians. She applied, but never thought she would get it, because there were over 1000 candidates for 23 positions. But, to her surprise, she was selected, and a few months later she was on her way to do an apprenticeship programme at Hull College in the UK.
After completing her apprenticeship, she jumped at the chance to go to Houston and do a specialised course in production chemistry. In 2010, Dina returned to Angola to work on Greater Plutonio, a BP asset in her home country. After a year as a production chemist and obtaining her degree, she joined the challenge programme as a process engineer and spent two years as an onshore support engineer for Greater Plutonio, before her next big challenge: PSVM.
Going offshore to work on PSVM and being part of the commission and start-up of Africa’s first ultra-deepwater FPSO was an exciting and unique experience. But this would not be her last move, as in 2017, she moved back to the UK; this time to Aberdeen. She spent three years in the North Sea region working as a process engineer and later as maintenance execution team leader, before moving into her current role as the executive assistant to the head of upstream engineering, based in Sunbury, near London.
14 years later, Dina continues to take advantage of the opportunities BP gives her, challenging herself to continue to grow and leaning on the advice she received years ago: ‘do it afraid’. She says:
Influenced by her own experiences and understanding of equality, which she says: “means that whatever is available is up for grabs for anybody with the same skills and capability”, Dina has always tried to create opportunities for other young women looking to get into STEM.
As a registered UK STEM advocate, she has volunteered extensively, and has sponsored two underprivileged women to go to university studying STEM subjects. She also serves as a mentor for young girls in the Women Offshore Network. But her biggest project so far has been organising workshops for young girls in Luanda.
It all started when her younger sister asked her questions about career choices. She realised that other young women probably had similar questions but no one to answer them, so she teamed up with some friends and trialled the first event through a local church. It was a great success, and the group has since expanded to offer them in several locations, several times a year.
Speaking about inclusivity, she says: “family is really a key place where we can build a society that is more gender equal, because the girls and boys at home are the entrepreneurs, CEOs and policy makers of tomorrow. If they are raised with a mindset of equality and inclusiveness, half of the work is most likely done”. Dina knows there is a lot more work to do, but seeing the progress that has already been made, she’s optimistic that things will only keep getting better.
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